On Monday, NOCCA starts up again for the year. This has thrown me into a panic, since I haven't come close to finishing the work I thought I'd get done in my summer "off." In fact, I've been so focused on teaching, writing a couple of freelance pieces, and juggling strange emergencies, even this blog has been ignored. So now we'll try to catch up.
1. Our mayor is crazier than ever. WWL recently broke a story about a city contracted agency--NOAH--that spent several million in federal money remediating houses that don't exist. Although a number of people have been researching the story for months, and made numerous inquiries for information from the Mayor's office, Nagin called a press conference to accuse the media of being mean and trying to stand in the way of recovery. That's funny, because most people would think that misappropriating federal money (and hiring relatives in the process) would be something that would stall recovery. So here's a link to that press conference. In it, Nagin also says they had the wrong list of properties, that he gave them the right list and they ignored it. So, after reviewing Nagin's list, they found even more discrepencies. Nagin's response: "I don't know what list your using...I never gave you a list."
2. Last week I woke up to the smell of oil. In my house. Was someone burning something? Was someone using diesel as weed killer? No, it was 400,000 gallons of oil drifting by my house. Outside, a neighbor warned me not to walk the dogs to the levee--another neighbors dogs had jumped in and emerged covered in oil. Of course, this hasn't been national news at all. What is surprising is it barely registered locally for the first few days, except for the economic impact of closing the river to traffic. Yesterday, another 2500 gallons were released from the damaged barge, which is apparently sitting at the bottom of the river. This morning the dogs and I walked the levee and saw a team of people preparing to clean the oil that has collected along the banks.
3. Speaking of dogs, a few weeks ago, Zephyr got bit on the ass by another dog in the neighborhood. This seemed almost funny, until we realized she was actually injured. In fact, the laceration was so close to her anus, it required putting her fully under in order to suture and staple it. And then she had to wear a cone for two weeks, which traumatized everyone, particularly Sula, who thought it was thundering every time Z ran into the door with her cone.
4. Speaking of other dogs, last week at the Sula Foundation's lecture on dangerous dog laws, Jefferson Animal control arrived with a litter of pit bull puppies that would be put to sleep if they didn't find foster homes immediately. The parish has a policy of euthanizing any pit bulls that arrive in the shelter. So, one puppy flew to NYC with an ASPCA lawyer; she is settling into life on the UWS. Two others are being fostered at Canine Connection. And the fourth is in a private home (with Suzie, the missing pit bull who was found!). They all cried like crazy when they were separated.
5. I have a feature piece in the Books section of Time Out New York. It's an interview with Jack Pendarvis, and to be honest, I originally submitted it as a Q & A, because Jack is so interesting and funny. But apparently that isn't allowed. So its in a dryer profile format. I'll post the original version next week.
6. In addition to NOCCA, I'll be teaching in the MFA program at UNO this fall. I am really excited to be asked to fill in while one of the regular teachers is on tour.