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Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Chris Rock is my Fishmonger
I stopped at the Inner Harbor Whole Foods store on the way home this evening to pick up some groceries and wine since I had been out of town for the weekend. This particular store is in the heart of the tourist / Inner Harbour area, and is also on my way home from work (if I drive). Well, I was standing in front of the fish stand, trying to decide between the Mahi-Mahi, or the Tilapia Macadamia Crusted Filet, and I looked up to see none other than - Chris Rock.

Now, this is not just a passing resemblance, this is a "separated at birth, Boys From Brazil, full-on clone" experience. Skin crawling spooky.

So, I said to him, "I'll bet no one ever EVER tells you that you look like Chris Rock, right?"

With that, he dissolved into laughs, giggles, and THE scariest impersonation I have ever seen. Big teeth, big smile, perfect dimples, and a "DAMN, Y'ALL!!", to wake the dead. It was eery. I seriously had to stop and make sure I wasn't being 'Punk'd" or something.

I never did get his real name, but he said he's been posing for photos and signing autographs ever since he started there.

So...if you're in the Inner Harbor and need some fresh fish - head over to Chris. He'll hook you up.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:44 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Ex- FBI official says he was 'Deep Throat'
This seems so anti-climatic. I wonder if he knows where Jimmy Hoffa is buried?

"I don't think (being Deep Throat) was anything to be proud of," Felt indicated to his son, Mark Jr., at one point, according to the article.
I dunno, I might consider it a compliment if someone nicknamed me "Deep Throat", but then again, I'm probably not thinking of it in the same context. Errr, nope, thought not.
posted by Broadsheet @ 3:12 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Monday, May 30, 2005
Looks familiar, non??


And then there's this.....


I dunno. I just think the French are going to appear even more xenophobic and arrogant than they already do (are), and the Dutch are going to use this as an excuse to retaliate against many recent things: the Van Goh murder last year; the increasing influence of Turkey (read "Muslim")in France; and the fear that their rather "high" standard of living would be compromised by a European Union.

Welcome to change and progress, France. It's a global economy, and we need to find ways to make certain that there aren't "first world, second world, third world" distinctions, but rather; One World. One in which our individual cultures and heritage are protected as much as possible, but also one in which our borders are open and free trade is the standard currency.

Perhaps someday. France has now made it highly unlikely that the EU Constitution, and models of state, are delayed as much by 5 years, and may get derailed completely. I hope not - this change needs to happen.
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:21 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
Non
Well, no surprise here
French voters resoundingly rejected the EU Constitution today, sending a message of defiance to their own political establishment and leaving European plans for closer integration in tatters.

The result was announced by a sombre President Chirac, who had personally called the referendum and thrown his political weight behind a document meant to lay down the rules for European cooperation in the coming decades.

Keen to avoid France being blamed for the death of the treaty, however, M. Chirac said tonight that the process of ratification should continue in other EU countries – including Britain.
The EU can withstand a lot of things, and this would not be a "big" deal if say, Belgium, or the Czech Republic had refused to ratify the Constitution, but France? It spells the end for the Prime Minister, Raffarin, for certain, and places Chriac on an extremely tight leash with his country's constituencies. It also places the entire EU into an upheaval that must now be sorted out, and may take a couple of years to do so, especially if the Netherlands now follow suit and reject the treaty as well this week.

I think it's too bad that the French have to use the EU as a means to an end by voicing their displeasure with their own government and thereby affecting the entire European Union, and that's the way this is going to be seen, regardless of the spin that Chirac tries to place on it.
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:06 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Grandma Kevorkian
My mother has long had the unpleasant, but often necessary task of disposing of sick, dying or dead animals. Wild animals, sick animals, stray animals, along with the chipmunks, moles, toads, and other tiny creatures that fall into the pool and end up in the skimmer baskets like so much flotsam and jetsam, as well as a host of beloved pets at the end of their long and happy lives.

A brief review of just some of Mom's interaction with the animal world recalls a terribly sick squirrel that had to be drowned to put it out of its misery, a bird with an irrevocably broken wing and leg, which she dispatched with a quick snap of the neck, and loading the various dogs and cats gently into the back of the car for that last trip to the vet. Over the years, for her ability to act as a kindly and efficient Grim Reaper, Mom has ultimately earned the nickname - Grandma Kevorkian.

Yesterday, she nearly succeeded in adding another notch on her Grim Reaper sickle.

I was sitting in the den (where I am now as a matter of fact), checking mail and blogs. It was early morning, but pouring rain and very dark. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, over by the garden wall, I saw a VERY large bushy tail sweep over the edge of the roofline and up into the overhang of the roof of the poolroom. If it was a squirrel it was the largest one I have ever seen. I could have been convinced it was a fox's tail - it was that large.

So, I mention it to Mom, and she said "Yeah - he's enormous. There's a whole family of them up there, and I've been trying to get them out. I thought I got rid of them all last year, but apparently, one of them returned this spring, and now there's a nest up there."

"Mom", I said warily, "when you say 'Got rid of them all', you didn't?"....

"No!" I used the Havahart live trap and then we took them out to the cottage or out behind the school and released them into the woods.

"Well, you better get it out and set it again", I said.

So, the trap was set with fresh almonds and peanut butter, and when I sat down later in the morning to check my mail, I heard a furious squirrel growling and banging around in the cage out on the deck. Not a happy camper by any means, but also not the Squirrelzilla we were after either.

Mom and I had plans to head up to the Prime Outlet Stores in Grove City for some retail therapy later in the afternoon since the weather was so bad, so we decided to load the squirrel into the car with us and set him loose near Moraine State Park on the way. We also noticed that the poor thing was blind in one eye. It was completely opaque, but the other eye seemed clear, and there was no doubt that the squirrel could see, or rather, glare, just fine. There was a look of pure hatred coming from One Eyed Jack for being cooped up in that cage.

Driving along 422 West, Mom decides on a likely spot along the side of the road adjacent to the State Park and a wooded area and we pull over. She gets the trap out of the back and sets it along the edge of the grass, and starts to open it. I have visions of the squirrel bolting into traffic and ending up as another notch in Mom's belt, which, while adding to her mystique, would not be good for the squirrel, so I suggest that she move farther off the road into the woods. She opens the trap at one end. One Eyed Jack just backs into the back of the cage. She tips the trap forward to encourage him to get out, but instead of darting for freedom, One Eyed Jack decides to back even further into the rear of the cage. As Mom tips the cage even farther forward, and ultimately lifts it up and tries to dump the squirrel out, the poor thing starts to cling desperately to the back of the cage, as if he's hanging on to the end of a rising drawbridge. Now Mom starts to shake the cage at this point, and the squirrel looks more and more like Sid the Sloth from the movie "Ice Age" clinging for his life on the back of the wooly mammoth, Manfred.

Dad and I are beginning to crack up watching Mom try to shake the damn squirrel out of the cage, when the squirrel finally realizes what's happening, and shoots out the front of the cage as if he were shot out of small cannon, and Mom recoils from the blast.

Just as Mom is putting the cage back in the trunk, and Dad and I are gaining our composure, Dad glances in the rear view window, goes "Uh, Oh", and before I could whip my head around, I hear a Darth Vader like voice coming across a loud speaker: "Are you folks OK?" I turn around to see a State Police car pulled up behind us.

Mom trots happily to the driver's side of the door - inches away from cars whizzing by her at 65 mph, and leans in to speak with the Trooper. Dad and I suddenly have visions of the tables being turned and Mom getting clipped by a passing car and being flung into traffic like so much road kill. After a few nerve wracking moments and near misses, she nonchalantly walks back to the car, the Trooper pulls away, and we're off.

"Mom", I said, "you always approach a car on the side of the road on the PASSENGER side, not the driver's side - you could have been killed!"

"Oh, he was a nice man just looking out for us. Although he did tell me to be careful and head back to the car".

Hopefully, One Eyed Jack is adjusting to his new territory in the State Park, and stayed away from the highway. Meanwhile, the trap has been reset in the hopes of capturing Squirrelzilla, and Grandma Kevorkian will have to wait another day for her next hapless victim.

UPDATE: Speaking of hapless vicitms, things could have gone much worse
A REPORTER sent to do a story about a baby squirrel stood on the fluffy creature by mistake and killed it.

Inka Blumensaat wanted to tell how a pet cat had saved the orphaned squirrel by adopting it as her own.

But the friendly rodent jumped on her leg as she filmed her report and she panicked and trampled it underfoot,breaking its neck.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:13 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Friday, May 27, 2005
Homeward Bound
I'm just about to hit the showers and finish packing a few things before throwing it all in the (newly tuned up) car and heading to the bucolic backwater town of Butler, PA for the holiday weekend.

It is my niece's 12th (!!) birthday today, and a family party is planned along with some much needed just hanging out with my parents, siblings and their progeny. I haven't been home in 6 months, and my Mom had a bit of a health scare this week, that thankfully turned out to be a complete false alarm, so there is some celebrating to do!

It's a beautiful, cool, sunny spring day, so I'm looking forward to the drive west through the mountains this time, instead of the white knuckle, nail biting trips I took last fall during the floods, and at Christmas during an ice storm. Got the trip music all picked out, and I just have to stop at the fish market and grab some live soft shell crabs to throw in a cooler or my Dad will never forgive me. They are his favorite Chesapeake Bay delicacy this time of year...

Will blog (maybe with pics!) this weekend. Have a wonderful holiday everyone.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:51 AM   1 Editorial Opinions
American Idol Gets 378 Million More Votes than 2004 Prez Election
Sadly, that statement pretty much sums up the sorry state of affairs in the US and speaks volumes about our country's values. 122 million people voted for the President of the United States. 500 million voted (most by SMS text messaging) for the ultimate selection of a blond haired, blue eyed country singer. Sigh...I want my country back.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:42 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Verakai!!
I apologize for all the Baltimore centric posts yesterday and today, but this town is a rockin right now!!

So here goes another one. Some day (or not) I may post the popular "100 things about me" meme (don't hold your breath), but in the meantime, you should know that I am a HUGE Cirque du Soleil fan.

Tip: Sign up to be a member of Club Cirque. Listen here, it's completely free and there is utterly no downside to this that I can see so far.

1. I was notified 2 weeks in advance of general public tickets going on sale and offered a chance to buy the best seats in the house before anyone else.
2. I was sent an offer for 30% off tickets for certain nights.
3. I was offered an upgrade to these tickets to VIP status at no extra cost by presenting our tix 2 hours before the show at the box office, if they had leftover or unsold tix being held for sponsors and family members.

Once I herded the cats (i.e. friends) and we picked a date, I was able to use my Cirque Club membership to save about $20 / ticket off the regular price for everyone. This is sweet - because as you may or may not know - tickets to Cirque are hideously expensive, ranging from $190 apiece for the VIP seats (which include food and drinks) to $75 for the better seats. Cheapest seats in the house go for $45. Having said that, once you see the talent, the show and the production - you realize why they can charge these prices. Especially since the tent only holds about 2,500 people.

This evening, 7 of us (we were supposed to be 8, but one of us was disabled at the last minute by a bad work week), met for a nice dinner on the waterfront in Fells Point at Duclaw Brewery, and were then able to walk about a block to the "Grand Chapiteau", to see Verakai.

I took advantage of my Cirque Club membership and tried to upgrade all 8 tickets. Voila!! We were granted 8 tickets in two, four seat blocks, directly adjacent to each other, in the center section about a dozen rows from the stage. SCHWEEEEET!!! It really made the show special when the artists come soaring out directly above you, and the clowns race through your aisle during the show.

I have to assume that most people have seen a Cirque production either live or on TV by now. If by some rare exception you haven't - PLEASE get a DVD and introduce yourself to this unique art form, because that's truly what it is. Guy Laliberte' has founded an entirely new form of performance art based on classical circus traditions, street performers, cultural performers and other physical acts of daring. Then he combines that with haunting music, costumes, and high tech stage productions, and it has resulted in a product, that like "Disney", is unique in the world, but at the same time, is now also so familiar as its own genre.

Verakai - It is not something that can be explained. It has to be experienced.
posted by Broadsheet @ 12:19 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Baltimore makes list of top 10 travel destinations
This is great news, but I had to check the calendar to make sure it didn't say April 1.

Between this, and a front page story on the WSJ today - I wonder how much Martin O'Malley had to pay for this kind of coverage and media attention?
posted by Broadsheet @ 4:35 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Where is the Little Andres Serranos Room?


Click on the title or here for a larger version. Heh.

HT: boingboing
posted by Broadsheet @ 3:22 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Wall Street Journal: After Long Decline, Baltimore Sees New Investors Rush Into Poor Neighborhoods
Nice WSJ article on the comeback of Baltimore's inner city Neighborhoods. Jwer, your neighborhood is hot!! (again).
posted by Broadsheet @ 12:40 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
On the Hill Cafe
I have to give a big shout out to On the Hill Cafe, the recently reopened cafe in my neighborhood, Bolton Hill. This used to be the location of the Hidden Bean Cafe, and I think the new owners will do very well. The hours are more consistent than the Bean, and the menu is very nice. All the sandwiches are named after streets in Bolton Hill. I had The Mosher sandwich for lunch - very nice for $6.75: "Warm Slow Roasted Cumin Crusted Pork with Monterey Jack Cheese, Caramelized Onions and Spicy Cilantro Mayo on Grilled Baguette". Yummy. Their selection of iced tea was very nice as well.

Anyway - it's on the corner of Mosher and John St., and well worth a stop for breakfast, coffee and /or lunch. They have a nice catering / take out menu as well, and will be open till 7:00 PM on Thursdays and Fridays.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

posted by Broadsheet @ 12:27 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Sims creator takes on evolution
This could be fun. A video game where you get to direct evolution. An "Intelligient Designer" if you would.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:11 AM   1 Editorial Opinions
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
An act of true shellfishness in Roland Park
Crab capers in Baltimore.
Installed last week as part of the city's Crabtown Project public art display and fund-raiser, the hulking fiberglass crustacean perched in front of Eddie's of Roland Park grocery store was reported missing yesterday.

"We think it may have been abducted at mallet-point," said Steve Kuehn, the general manager of the high-end market.

The 75-pound orange crab, with a clawspan of 5 1/2 feet, was wearing a painted-on garment decorated as a white chef's jacket with a Maryland flag on the back.

It was wearing a chef's hat and holding tongs and a whisk in its claws.


posted by Broadsheet @ 11:08 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
Celebrity sightings
One of the perks of my job, is that we sometimes get to rub shoulders with celebrities who come through here: Tom Clancy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven King, John Glenn, and Harry Belefonte are just a few of the people I've been lucky enough to meet over the years (even had dinner with Mr. Belefonte last summer).

Today? Today was Oriole's legendary pitcher, 3 time Cy Young Award winner, baseball hall of famer, and underwear model, Jim Palmer, and can I just say that he is about the best looking man I have EVER seen? Seriously girls, you haven't seen blue eyes until you've met Jim Palmer. Of course, the tan didn't hurt either. Alas, his girlfriend du jour looked like Miss July, go figure, but he is serious eye candy anytime.

I love my job (sometimes).
posted by Broadsheet @ 4:14 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
Scofflaw

Did you know, that in the state of Maryland, it is illegal to:

  • Give or recieve oral sex anywhere? (Guess I'm headed to the slammer for that one!)
  • That thistles may not grow in one's yard.

In the city of Baltimore, it is illegal to:

  • To throw bales of hay from a second-story window within the city limits.
  • To take a lion to the movies. (Guess I have to leave Pumpkin at home from now on.)
  • To be in a public park with a sleeveless shirt. $10 fine. This would include joggers that go shirtless. (1898)
  • No person who is a "tramp" or "vagrant" shall loiter in any park at any time. They define tramp as a person who roves for begging purposes and a vagrant as an idle person who is able-bodied living without labor. It's a $50 fine. I guess the tramp would have to beg for the money to pay the fine. -Park Rule 6 (well, the little park at the end of my street is filled with these.)
  • To sell chicks or ducklings to a minor within 1 week of the Easter holiday.
  • To spit on city sidewalks, although you may spit on a city roadway.
  • You may not curse inside the city limits. (Damn - who knew?)

    Found at: Dumblaws.com
posted by Broadsheet @ 12:03 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
The Borowitz Report .com
Heh

"GROUP SEEKS BAN OF TWENTIETH CENTURY FROM KANSAS SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS Last Century ‘Just a Theory,’ Activists Say"
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:49 AM   1 Editorial Opinions
Researchers hope artifacts identify pirate's ship
Well, shiver me timbers, they claim to have found Blackbeard's ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge. When we vacationed on the Outerbanks of NC growing up every summer, the legend of Blackbeard was everywhere. I remember reading a novel about it one summer and being captivated by it. Of course, Blackbeard's ghost is said to haunt just about every old building an lighthouse from Virginia Beach to Myrtle Beach. And then there's the mythical treasure which has yet to be found......
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:34 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Bad Hair Day
Music mogul Phil Spector's day in court. Accused of murdering his girlfriend....



Nawww... he doesn't look like a crazed killer to me either.

HT: boingboing
posted by Broadsheet @ 2:16 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
Two hurt in mock light sabre duel
Alert the folks at the Darwin Awards, we have a couple of winners.
Two Star Wars fans are in a critical condition in hospital after apparently trying to make light sabres by filling fluorescent light tubes with gasoline.
posted by Broadsheet @ 1:22 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Creationism: God's gift to the ignorant
Richard Dawkins speaks up. Finally. On the goings on in Kansas....

Admissions of ignorance and mystification are vital to good science. It is therefore galling, to say the least, when enemies of science turn those constructive admissions around and abuse them for political advantage. Worse, it threatens the enterprise of science itself. This is exactly the effect that creationism or “intelligent design theory” (ID) is having, especially because its propagandists are slick, superficially plausible and, above all, well financed. ID, by the way, is not a new form of creationism. It simply is creationism disguised, for political reasons, under a new name.
Read the whole thing.

And when you're done reading that, pop over to the New Yorker, and read H. Allen Orr's excellent article on Intelligent Design, entitled "Devolution", in which he not only does a great job explaining William Dembski's crackpot theories, but also does a terrific job illustrating the sheer ludicrousness of his claims. Good stuff.
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:08 AM   1 Editorial Opinions
Human-powered hydrofoil seeks jumpy riders
I just love gadgets like this. Reminds me of an aquatic version of the Segue.



Riders operate the "Pumpabike" by bouncing up and down on a small platform at the rear of the contraption, whilst holding onto a steering column at the front.

In doing so, they can reach speeds of up to 16 knots (30 kilometres per hour), says inventor Mike Puzey, who is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Puzey’s design has no propeller and involves no pedalling. Instead, thrust comes entirely from the hydrofoils beneath the craft.
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:00 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Monday, May 23, 2005
Those Crazy Vermonters
Now here's a guy that knows how to treat his date! Limo-zeens and horse drawn coaches be damned little lady - Ah'm taking you to the prom in mah traktur bucket!

posted by Broadsheet @ 3:23 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Great-grandmother gives birth to twins
Ugggh. At this rate, I'll never get my mother off my back for not giving her more grandchildren......
posted by Broadsheet @ 2:53 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Sith Happens
I suppose this was just a matter of time...

posted by Broadsheet @ 2:02 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
Boys will be Boys
This article made my day....
Darren had been on his stag night with his 21-year-old brother, who will be his best man at the wedding in five weeks, when they were wrestled to the ground by a group of friends and stripped naked in a lay-by near Tadcaster at 9.30am yesterday.
The friends then drove off, leaving the two brothers stranded at the roadside wearing only their socks and shoes.
I'm guess Darren will be on a much tighter leash shortly....
posted by Broadsheet @ 1:02 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
TIME on Newsweek
When a Story Goes Terribly Wrong. Pardon my cynicism, but isn't this a bit of the pot calling the kettle black?
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:39 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Ministry uses dinosaurs to dispute evolution
An article from the Cincinnati Enquirer regarding a guy named Ken Ham, and his attempt to "convince" people that evolution is bunk by building a $25 million (yes, you read that right) "Creation Museum"
Soon, visitors to Ham's still-unfinished Creation Museum will experience his view: that God created the world in six, 24-hour days on a planet just 6,000 years old. This literal interpretation of the Bible runs counter to accepted scientific theory, which says Earth and its life forms evolved over billions of years.

Undaunted by considerable opponents, Ham's Answers in Genesis ministry is building a $25 million monument to creationism. The largest museum of its kind in the world, it hopes to draw 600,000 people from the Midwest and beyond in its first year.
He claims that it's going to be the biggest tourist attraction in Cincinnati. I'm sure the citizens of Cincinnati are proud. Then again, the "Ripley's Believe it Or Not Museums" are a big draw.
posted by Broadsheet @ 5:38 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Suburban rituals
I am a city dweller for many reasons: walking to most everything I need and everyone I want to visit; a close, tight knit community of diverse, interesting neighbors who chat across the fence instead of driving an SUV to someone's house for coffee; and an intimate yard and garden that is small enough to manage with my busy schedule and yet fill with flowers and hanging baskets, to make an inviting oasis.

Well, that's the dream anyway. The reality is that this last dream requires a fairly suburban series of rituals to accomplish. Sooooo, yesterday I went here, to buy flowers. A couple of hundred $$ later, and a car full of plants, I went here, and purchased one of the ultimate surburban accessories: a new gas grill . It would not fit in the car, obviously, so I am relying on Andrew's truck later this afternoon to collect it.

Then the last suburban stop. The much feared and maligned Sam's Club, is an absolute nightmare on a busy, bright Saturday morning. Every soccer mom, their kids, dutiful dads, and retireees in motorized carts zipping up and down the aisle buying toilet paper bales in amounts that stagger the imagination. As soon as I walked in, I wanted to turn around an walk out - the whole place gives me an anxiety attack, but I had a coupon (God, did I just say that??), for one of these, and I really wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather this weekend to clean the deck and brick walkways. So..., after standing in line for more than 20 minutes, I bundled my prize into the car and headed home. This entire suburban shopping extravaganza took 4 1/2 hours. I unloaded everything, took a shower, and got dressed for a party at Jen's . Had a wonderful time and met some neat people - thanks Jen!!

This morning, it's back to city rituals. I'm off to brunch up the street with neighbors and fellow bloggers David, Rob , Zenchick, Cara, and this guy. A highly civilized, Sunday morning city thing to do. Afterwards, I will retire to my little city garden and try to transform it from the grey and dirty winter landscape, into the clean, bright, flower filled oasis that it can be with a little work and dirt under the fingernails. It's a good thing.
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:22 AM   1 Editorial Opinions
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Bush Promises Probe into Saddam Underwear Pictures
Best hed of the day.

HT: Sully
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:43 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Porn Star Invited to White House
They say a man is judged by the company he keeps!
“I’m honored to be invited to this event,” Kulkis said. “Republicans bill themselves as the pro-business party. Well, you won’t find a group of people more pro-business than pornographers. We contributed over $10 billion to the national economy last year.”

“I’m especially looking forward to meeting Karl Rove,” Carey added. “Smart men like him are so sexy. I know that he’s against gay marriage, but I think I can convince him that a little girl-on-girl action now and then isn’t so bad!”
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:34 AM   1 Editorial Opinions
Friday, May 20, 2005
Episode III
So, a bunch of Baltimore bloggers got together last night for beer, food, and a viewing of the new Star Wars movie. Complete with plastic lightsabers. If there is a geekier way to spend an evening, I'm not aware of it - but we had a pretty damn good time. Malnurtured Snay has a good roundup of the evening's festivities, and has saved me a lot of time on a post - so go read it!



In other news, I seem to have slept on my shoulder and neck last night in a manner that has left me looking and feeling like Quasi Modo today. I can barely turn my head, and the left side of my neck feels like someone tried to rip my head off and only got part way. Ouch. I need a good massage.... Perhaps it was from Jwer bopping me on the head with his lightsaber all night long.

UPDATE: Ha!!! Validation from Fool: "He also hit Linda in the head with his lightsaber. A lot."

There's another quote of mine on her post entitled Top 10 Ways Mature Adults Can Have Fun With Plastic Lightsabers, but I'll leave that one for you to figure out.
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:09 AM   1 Editorial Opinions
The Carnival of the Recipes #40
Recipes! Recipes! Over on Curmudgeonry. Her own recipe for Sesame tuna with coconut-lime-cilantro rice sounds yummy!
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:56 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Graphic: How Class Works
The NYT has been doing a comprehensive examination of class in America this week. Their on-line version has a pretty cool Interactive Graphic. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but it sure made me feel pretty good in comparison!
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:46 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Dinner and a Movie
I am going for dinner and drinks here this evening with most of these people, before we walk over here to see the opening of this!

Snay or Jwer, touch me with your lightsabers and I'll scream. (I promise!)
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:31 AM   1 Editorial Opinions
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Jazzfest Day 4: Saving the Best for Last
We all woke up early on Sunday determined to make the most out of our last day of Jazzfest after the rainstorms the previous day. Wasn't hard to do - the weather was simply breathtakingly beautiful - again. I'm not sure if it was the perfect weather, perfect friends, perfect lineup, or the fact that it was the last day, but Sunday may have been the best day ever despite all the previous highlights.

Light beads
A French Quarter street lamp awash in beads, despite the fact that Mardis Gras was 3 months ago...

Most of us met in the lobby early, and headed to the Festival Grounds well in advance of opening, so we could stake out our claim and lay in the sun (we're veterans at this point, and even know which Flags are the coolest / most fun to camp out with. Music as a competitive sport - gotta love it). We all had such a giddy, enthusiastic, feel good, punch drunk, vibe at 9:00 in the morning (from coffee!) - you knew it was gonna be a long day!!

I decided to start the day with Spencer Bohren. He lives just a few blocks from Jazzfest, and was simply the perfect, authentic mix of acoustic folk, gospel and blues to start off a gorgeous Sunday morning. Not preachy - just playful, joyous, and incredibly intimate with the audience. You really felt as though you were across the street in his garden, just hanging out and singing along. Just him and his guitar(s). Great stuff.

From there, I wandered through many of the craft and shopping booths that I had been lurking around, but neglected to buy from all week, and finally spent some $$$ on live Jazzfest recordings, rare jazz CDs, clothes, and Louisiana handicrafts (you're welcome Andrew).

This was all on my way over to meet Chuck and Diane who "slept in" (cough, cough), and met up with us later. I met them at the Sprint Stage to hear Anders Osborne. Oh. My. God. SUCH a fun, raucous, and amazing set. You know, there is truly something magical between the artists and the audiences at Jazzfest. I could be trite and say that they "feel the love", but there is this deeper understanding and appreciation that exists between the performers and the audience that, mixed with perfect weather (and a "little bit" of pot smoke), turns it into an almost spiritual experience. I've never seen such communal joy and goodwill as I have at Jazzfest(s). I mean. sure, there is a lot of security. It's >100,000+ drunk, sunburned, happy people every day for 2 weekends. But there are no arrests, no fights, no thefts, and no grudges. It's a musical utopia for 4 days. Yes Virginia, there is a heaven on earth - it's called New Orleans Jazzfest.

After Anders Osborne, I wanted to head next door to hear the Creole Zydeco Farmers, but I had heard them before and Diane wanted to hit a certain African craft booth for some beads that she had been eyeing all weekend, and it was next to the food area, and of course, it was nearing 2:00 already.

So....I had some crayfish bread and jambalaya, and after a flurry of text messages between everyone, we all met up at the Congo Stage to hear Michael Franti and Spearhead. Now, to be honest with you, I knew of him, but was not really familiar with his group's music and hadn't heard them live before.

Well now. They. Rocked. My. World.

Such energy, such enthusiasm. And Franti?? ooooooh baby - That is one TALL, cool drink of latte. Yummy.

Oh, I'm sorry, was I drooling?

Anyway, just when I thought the day couldn't get any better, we met up with everyone over at the "main camp", to hang out and hear Trey Anastasio . Trey is/ was the guitarist from Phish. I was completely blown away - seriously. Some of the best guitar playing I have heard, (since, mmmm, maybe a private concert in London back in November). Seriously - great, great stuff. A couple of our friends opted to wander over to the Los Lonely Boys concert, and came back complaining that they weren't nearly as good as Anastasio.

Opening with a nod to Led Zeppelin, Anastasio set the tone for his new project's rock-driven sound. Running through a set of new material, as well as the Beatles' - "I am the Walrus", (this really had the crowd going!).

On 2001's "Drifting," in particular, Trey's group sounded like a streamlined version of his previous solo band, coated with a slightly harder edge. Of his new originals, "Low" earned the biggest applause, while the appearance of New Orleans accordion hero Fig Tomato added some local flavor to Anastasio's jam session.

Trey's set ranked among the weekend's best offerings. Inviting percussionist Cyril Neville, saxophonist Dave Grippo, trumpeter Michael Ray, and a duo of Dirty Dozen tenors onstage, he ran through a series of Mardi Gras covers, recalling both the Meters' funky jams and his original solo project. Mixing his previous groove musings with the two-guitar interplay that characterizes his current band, Trey fulfilled his dream of orchestrating a big band of modern players, fusing jazz, rock, and New Orleans soul. It was just simply awesome.

Truly, my best memories of Jazzfest are not the big names - they were the uniquely American blues, jazz, and funk groups I discovered for the first time - even if some of them had been around for 60 years.

Saving the best for last.....

A fitting close to JazzFest, the Neville Brothers anchored Sunday evening's lineup as tradition has become to warrant.

DSCF0053

The Neville Brothers' mixture of soul, funk and jazz has defined New Orleans for decades, seeding countless side projects along the way. Adding Trey Anastasio as a jam artist, and pairing him up with Charles Neville for a duel against his sax at several points towards the end, made for an historic concert. Unquestionably New Orleans' first family, a number of Neville kin now back the founding brothers, most notably keyboardist Ivan. Jamming with a variety of guests over the weekend (he was everywhere!), Ivan Neville has helped brand his family as The Big Easy's primary ambassador. And, in the end, the Neville Brothers proved that the key to preserving New Orleans ' musical heritage is a pair of old jamband tricks: cross-pollination and collaboration.

Well, how could you not be happy after a day like that?? We retired to the hotel for a swim, change of clothes, and drinks. Chuck, Diane and I (having lost the others to Bourbon St. earlier) wandered down to Decatur St. in the French Quarter later in the evening and found a great seafood place that also had a live jazz quartet playing. Since we were late, most of the people were gone, or "gone" as in not paying attention any longer as the jazz group tried their hardest to play. As they were ending a set and trying to engage the audience, they launched into the Cab Calloway "Hi-de-ho" song. It's a call back song, and being from Baltimore, I HAD to respond, so it was rather embarrassing when our table was the only one in the restaurant to stand up and answer the call to: "Hi de Hi de Hi de Ho".

The band leader loved us for it, and Chuck, Diane, 2 of the waiters, and another patron all got up on stage with me and we danced our hearts out (drinking?? who?? us??) .

Had a blast. The food was VERY good as well, but I'll be damned if I can remember the name of the place - starts with an "A"??? Look it up - it's 3 blocks off Canal St., on Decatur. Awesome.

So was this was on the way to dinner that night. A door in the French Quarter. I liked the colors:

posted by Broadsheet @ 9:42 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Thoroughly Modern Millie
I'm just relieved that Fundamentalist is last on the list....


You scored as Modernist. Modernism represents the thought that science and reason are all we need to carry on. Religion is unnecessary and any sort of spirituality halts progress. You believe everything has a rational explanation. 50% of Americans share your world-view.

Modernist

94%

Materialist

94%

Existentialist

81%

Idealist

44%

Romanticist

38%

Postmodernist

25%

Cultural Creative

13%

Fundamentalist

13%

What is Your World View?
created with QuizFarm.com
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:15 AM   2 Editorial Opinions
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
The top 50 things every foodie should do
A foodie meme . Somewhat UK centric, but fun to read nonetheless.

A note to Nigella Lawson: Girlfriend, SURELY you could have come up with something just a little bit more sensuous than "dismembering a chicken"?

I've only accomplished a mere 12 items on the list, and I don't think #50 is a possibility, although in terms of priority, I have to give credence to #11 (see Nigella? That's what I'm talking about).
posted by Broadsheet @ 6:53 PM   4 Editorial Opinions
God, Darwin, Viagra, and the Female Orgasm
Damn, make fun of her new blog all you want, but when she's right, she's right! Well said.
posted by Broadsheet @ 6:46 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
Blogging Through The Tulips
My buddy Steve's monthly column is up at Forbes.com, and is getting some excellent (and well deserved) press in the journalistic / media blogosphere from Romanesko, and mediabistro. You've hit the big time buddy! (not that you hadn't already)

The article does just a superb job illustrating all the issues facing the US Federal Elections Commission as they prepare to review the public commentary generated (primarily) by the Online Coalition Petition in their attempt to determine whether or not to regulate political blogs (breathe!) OR..... subject them to the same spending caps as the rest of the federally regulated finance legislation.

From: determining the definition of a "political" blog; to getting mired in the whole "blogger as journalist" debate; to determining at what point do blogs qualify for FEC regulatory oversight; to just how the heck does the FEC proposes to administer and regulate such a thing as diverse and virtual as the blogosphere; - Steve does a great job summarizing the issues and putting them in such a context as to actually make the whole notion of regulating blogs seem a bit far fetched today, but not safely out of the realm of possibility in the (near?) future. That is of course, if you haven't gotten a headache first from the sheer complexity of it all.

Oh, and not to put too fine a point on it, but this site is not a political blog. However, donations are welcome! :-)
posted by Broadsheet @ 6:24 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Harvard Will Spend $50 Million to Make Faculty More Diverse
As much as I applaud this move by the recently embattled Larry Summers, I have my doubts about throwing money at a problem like this in an effort to cure it. It's kind of paying lip service to it if they don't address the underlying cultural and socioeconomic issues that drive some of this.

After Summer's remarks, a firestorm of media and blogosphere criticism erupted which placed his presidency at Harvard in doubt and lead to a vote of no confidence in his leadership by his faculty. As a result, he appointed several committees to investigate the issues surrounding the presence and promotion of women in the Harvard faculty.
The reports paint a picture of a campus where women in science feel a lack of respect, if not outright hostility. "In some departments, women graduate students and postdoctoral fellows report hearing disrespectful criticisms of their abilities from male colleagues and a lack of a supportive environment," one report said.
Unfortunately, that type of attitude will not disappear by throwing $50 million at it, but it is a start.
posted by Broadsheet @ 12:36 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
RUNAWAY BRIDE STRAYS INTO WHITE HOUSE AIR SPACE
I'm sorry - but Andy Borowitz just cracks me up. This is a classic.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that the government was looking into a possible connection between Ms Wilbanks and the international terror organization al-Qaeda, but had so far come up empty: “Osama bin Laden is a terrorist madman, but this woman is just plain crazy.”

Secretary Chertoff also defended the decision, made during the height of the crisis, not to inform the President, who was riding his bicycle at the time: “The last thing you want to do is make him fall off his bike again.”

Elsewhere, Democrats in the Texas Legislature proposed a new bill calling high school cheerleaders’ routines “not sexy enough.”
posted by Broadsheet @ 12:01 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Monday, May 16, 2005
Topic A With Tina Brown: The Lady Begins Her Exit
From Gawker:
You knew it would be like this. The second she announced it was over, you just knew Tina Brown’s CNBC romps were going to get good......

Next, Tina challenged the veracity of Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad is Good for You. “Okay, convince me,” she began. Johnson believes television and video games make us smarter by cramming in “more intensity” to every scene. IQ scores have accelerated in the past 15 years, he added. The conversation went something like this:

OUCH
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:33 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Supreme Court Lifts Ban on Wine Shipping
One small step for man, one giant leap for enophiles
In addition to New York and Michigan, six other states permit direct shipment by in-state wineries while restricting it for others. They are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Florida, Ohio, Indiana and Vermont. Thirteen others are known as reciprocity states, which permit direct sales only from wineries in states that in turn permit out-of-state direct shipments.

Under the court's analysis, which lamented "the current patchwork of laws" that Justice Kennedy said was "essentially the product of an ongoing, low-level trade war," those laws are also now invalid. The reciprocity states are California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

An additional 15 states currently prohibit all direct-to-consumer wine shipments. They are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah.
UPDATE: and more here
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:04 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Dr. Hager's Family Values
Wow - this is an explosive article.

It claims that Dr. W. David Hager, a prominent obstetrician-gynecologist and Bush Administration appointee to the Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and who is a fundamentalist right wing Christian, and a staunch opponent to abortion, also physically abused and tormented his wife for years. Read it - it's chilling.

UPDATE: Wonkette does a scathing update and article roundup on this topic that I originally posted a few days ago. I realize that 'Newsweak's' deadly blunder is the news of the day, and is far more serious, but this just makes me shake my head.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:50 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
Paging Rain Man.....
The 'piano man'.

Very sad, but intriguing mystery....

The man has not said a word since police picked him up wandering the streets of Sheerness, Kent, in a soaking wet suit and tie on 7 April.

His social worker Michael Camp said the man, in his 20s or 30s, is usually very anxious but "comes alive" at the piano.

Orchestras around Europe are being contacted to see if they know him.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:35 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Restaurant icon HoJo's close to disappearing
One of my favorite childhood memories is of my grandmother taking us to HoJo's for fried clams and an ice cream sundae. It was such an ordinary thing, and yet, she made it seem like such a treat and a special occasion. I miss that. End of an era.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:07 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Menstrual Cycle May Alter Brain Chemistry
They spent MONEY to prove this?? Your tax dollars at work, my friend. Then again - Fox News is reporting it, so I suppose it figures.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:02 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Sunday, May 15, 2005
What kind of postmodernist are you?
Hah! Who knew? Well, perhaps.

theory slut
You are a Theory Slut. The true elite of the
postmodernists, you collect avant-garde
Indonesian hiphop compilations and eat journal
articles for breakfast. You positively live
for theory. It really doesn't matter what
kind, as long as the words are big and the
paragraph breaks few and far between.


What kind of postmodernist are you!?
brought to you by Quizilla
posted by Broadsheet @ 6:02 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
Jazzfest Day 3: Finally
On the way back from Bourbon St. On Friday night, it had begun to sprinkle and was getting windy. They had forecast rain after midnight, but we had no idea.....

The courtyard of our hotel had an acrylic roof on it, and as the rain started to come down, and the winds picked up - the background noise quickly became a dull roar. When I woke up around 7:30 am and glanced outside, the rain was coming down in sheets, horizontally. I happily went back to bed. At 9:00, I finally got up, got showered and went down to grab some breakfast in the lobby with everyone else. The rain was still coming down in sheets, but the forecast insisted it would clear by noon. No sense going out in this weather, so I grabbed the NYT and happily went back to the room to read it and the 2 books I brought. At noon? More rain. At 1:00 - it was starting to clear a little, and we were hungry, so we decided to wander down to the French Quarter, grab some lunch and then head out to Jazzfest around 2:30 or 3:00.

By sheer wandering around, we ended up at a little dive lunchspot / diner called Mena's Palace. This place was great. Chalkboard menu, a sassy waitress who called all of us "babe", and terrific local food. I had an amazing plate of shrimp remoulade and fried green tomatoes with a couple of local Abita beers. Couldn't finish it all.

Just as we were leaving - the sun started to come out - so we headed to Jazzfest.



Despite the amazing amounts of rain, it wasn't nearly as muddy as I would have expected. Since everyone had the same idea, and since this evening's headliners were Dave Matthews Band and Elvis Costello, the crowds were big, in fact, it was the biggest attendance of the whole festival, but perhaps not as big as they might have been. We managed to make our way over to the Sprint Stage to get set up and have a decent view of Elvis Costello.



By this time, it was 3:30 pm and Allen Toussaint (who I love), was playing before Elvis, but I really wanted to run over and hear Madeline Peyroux. The problem was, her stage was on the opposite end of the festival grounds through about 60,000 Dave Mathews fans, and it would have taken me 1/2 hour to get there and back on a muddy track. I decided to stay put and enjoy Allen. I was not disappointed. He did a fabulous show, and clearly proved his metal as a member of the Rock n'Roll Hall of Fame.

I should mention that there was the most wonderful family camped out next to us. A Mother and Father and three kids about 6 - 10 years of age. I have rarely witnessed the kind of love and intimacy in a family that these folks clearly had. The kids were having a ball, and the whole family danced together and had a great time. It was a really lovely thing to see.

Next up - Elvis Costello and the Imposters. What a show!! Costello did very little audience banter at first and just slid from song to song. Appearing loose and energetic, Costello let his band boogie, also dusting off a cover of the Grateful Dead's "Berta." Stacking hits like "Allison" at the end of his show, Costello reserved the first portion of his set for rock-star theatrics, dancing with his axe as he dipped deep into his canon, and teaming up with Jaimie Cullum at the end. Wonderful, wonderful performance. He went into 3 encores and seemed genuinely pleased with the crowd and its reaction.

Since we'd such an enormous late lunch, we headed back to the French Quarter for some later and lighter fare. We ended up back at Jimmy Buffet's bar where a very good singer was doing Buffet covers, and put back a "few" more Abita lagers, had a sandwich and let our hair down. On the way home (sort of), we found a quiet little wine bar on Decatur St. and had a glass or two of wine before finally heading home for real this time.

One more day to go, and the weather promised to be fantastic again.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:10 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Carnival of the Recipes
This week's Carnival of the Recipes is up at Boudicca's Voice, and it includes, Oh My God, could it be? A recipe for Haggis!! Well, a version of it anyway, and a lovely paen of Robert Burns "Address To A Haggis". Enjoy!

"Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm...."
posted by Broadsheet @ 12:04 PM   3 Editorial Opinions
Survey says...
Well, I decided to risk getting out of bed today after yesterday's adventures. I''m about to go out back and use lawn and garden power tools - wish me luck.

In the meantime, I need to upgrade my piece of s* mobile phone at the end of the month. Given the vast variety of models and features out there, if you have a phone that you particularly like - tell me about it. Or, if your friend has a phone you've been lusting after - let me know that too (the phone, not the lust you feel towards your friend that is).

I currently have a terrific rate plan with Cingular through work, and I'm actually very happy with both Cingular service and cell coverage - no complaints.

Given my increasing reliance on my cell phone compared to my land line, I want to get a phone that will meet my needs over the next 2 years. Therefore, it needs to handle e-mail, txt messaging, and other basic features. I'm still not sold on the need for an integrated camera since I haven't been all that impressed with the quality of any digital phone pics, but it does look like a fun feature.

I think if I traveled more, or had a job which had me out of the office more, I'd make the move to a Blackberry, but they are too big, and I'm usually well within reach of a computer at home or work unless I'm on vacation, and then that's the last thing I really need isn't it?

Anyway - let me know what you think either in the comments or via e-mail.
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:42 AM   4 Editorial Opinions
Friday, May 13, 2005
Friday the 13th? Ok, Ok, I get it.
I'm not superstitious by nature. My brother will tell you I'm gullible, but I'm not superstitious. Or at least I wasn't until today. I probably shouldn't have gotten out of bed today. In fact, I want a do over - a Mulligan day.

I was supposed to visit our satellite clinics today and check on operations. I generally like these days because I get out of the office, and between Greenspring, Timonium, Towson and Whitemarsh, I can also run an errand here and there and stop for a nice lunch somewhere.

So...I'm on the JFX up to Greenspring Station this morning, and there is a blue Ford sedan sitting right on my bumper, tailgating me just after the Northern Parkway exit. So, I politely slide over to another lane to let him pass. He slides right in behind me and keeps right on tailgating me. I slide over again, and he follows again. Now I'm really getting annoyed with the guy. Also, I'm now boxed in on one side by a big landscaping truck full of lawnmowers and Mexican guys on their way up to Greenspring to manicure the lawns of the rich and famous, so I speed up to get in front of the truck, the blue Ford speeds up too, and when I go to pull in front of the truck - yeah - you saw this one coming before I did right? The flashing lights go on and he pulls me over.

Sigh.

I pull off to the shoulder on Falls Road where they are doing construction on the I-695 overpass. I'm completely annoyed because this trooper, in his unmarked vehicle, essentially dogged me until I went above the speed limit to shake him off my tail - on purpose! I was going to argue with him - but he was definitely not the arguing type (all beefy with dark, aviator glasses and a lantern jaw), so I handed him the license and registration and decided to take my medicine - even though I was framed! While he went back to his car to call it in, I called ahead to tell them I was running about 15 minutes late. So, a $75 ticket for speeding and a $25 fine for not wearing my seat belt (what? and wrinkle a linen blouse that costs $6.95 to dry clean?), he lets me go.

But wait, there's more.

After my meeting, I come out to the parking lot to head to the next clinic, get in the car, drive about 20 yards, and realize something is very, very wrong. I stop the car, get out, and realize that the front right tire is completely flat. Dead. Done in no doubt by something from the construction site when I pulled off the road.

Sigh.

I open the trunk and proceed to empty it of drug boxes (I was taking emergency drug boxes to the clinics to re-stock them), books, folding chairs, etc... to get to the donut tire and jack. I managed to get the car jacked up, the tire off, and get the temporary tire on in about 1/2 hour. By this time, I am filthy from my hands to my elbows. So...I decide to go home, clean up, call the garage and get some lunch. Fine.

But wait, there's more.

I get home, cleaned up, make phone calls to apologize for not getting out to the other sites today, call the office, etc..., and decide that if I have to take the car to the garage for a tire repair, I might as well walk over to the bank and deposit a bunch of checks I have from our Home Owner's Association dues (I am the treasurer). So...I drop the car off, and walk to the M&T bank on Howard St. I get in line - about 12 people long, and I'm just minding my own business, when about 3 cop cars come blazing into the parking lot and 5 or 6 of Baltimore's finest come running into the bank with their weapons drawn and tell everyone to stay where they are. Just like on TV. And it dawns on me....... the bank has just been robbed.

From what I could tell, one of the guys in line in front of me had asked the cashier for money, and simply walked out while she hit the silent alarm. From the squawking noises coming from the officer's communication devices, it sounded as though they might have caught a suspect a few blocks away, but I really don't know, and since I really didn't see anything, I gave them my name and information and walked back to the garage. Oh, and I never did get to make a deposit - they closed the bank for an investigation.

I'm home now. I'm not climbing anything. I'm not going near anything sharp, and I'll probably have my Friday evening wine a little earlier than normal this evening.

Speeding ticket, flat tire, bank robbery - all before 1:00 PM.

Happy Friday the 13th people. It's real.
posted by Broadsheet @ 2:30 PM   9 Editorial Opinions
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Today's excuse
I SWEAR I'll post the last couple of days of Jazzfest tomorrow. It's been a long, long week.

Tonight, I had to cut the grass before my neighbors declared my property abandoned. The grass was literally knee high. I also wanted to clean it up so I can plant flowers, mulch, and powerwash the decks and awning on Saturday.

The more time consuming task this evening however, was the ridding of some nasty spyware/adware bugs from my computer at home. All is now well and spanking clean thanks to some sage advice and recommendations from Mr. J. Thomas. Thanks buddy.

My friends Scott and Jerry are visiting this weekend. Remind me to tell you about the time I went to see them last year around this time..... Might make for a really good Friday the 13th tale.

Ciao -
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:22 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Police Shoot Buffalo Escaping From Packing Plant
Oh boy, glad our police didn't pull this stunt when 9 bison escaped in Baltimore a couple of weeks ago. As a matter of fact, our police acted more like real cowboys than their counterparts in Denver by herding them onto a tennis court. One of the officers even took a direct charge from one of the unruly beasts without pulling his weapon. Of course, I suppose the Denver buffalos were already slated for the slaughterhouse.

Oooooh, give me a home....where the buffalo roam..... and the skies are not cloudy all day......
posted by Broadsheet @ 3:15 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Columbia Journalism Review: Dan Okrent
Very revealing interview from earlier this week with Dan Okrent, the outgoing Public Editor of the NYT, who headed up the committee to examine ways to improve the Grey Lady's credibility and build trust with their readership.

Good article - very candid.

UPDATE: Also a good article over at E&P summarizing yet another interview with Okrent at Salon.com, where he is very openly critical of the job that the NYT did covering WMD.
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:59 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Separated at Birth?
Is it just me, or does



the Pringles guy, look suspiciously like



John Bolton?
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:47 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Breaking News!!!
King Tut has been reincarnated as Barbra Streisand



HT: Gawker
posted by Broadsheet @ 2:16 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
The Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead

Go ahead, add your own caption to this photo in the comments......

Say what you will, but these guys are still laughing all the way to the bank.
posted by Broadsheet @ 12:25 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
What Matters in Kansas - The evolution of creationism
With tongue firmly in cheek, but with a finger pointed directly at the absurdity of it all Bill Saletan has an excellent, if slightly scathing op-ed piece in Slate today on the goings on in Kansas over the teaching of Intelligent Design, a theistic "alternative" to teaching evolutionism in public schools.

I am embarrassed that this notion should even make it to a US court in this day and age, but given the recent rise of the Christian Right in all things public and politic - I can't say I'm surprised. And after reading this article - the one two punch delivered by Saletan which basically says "bring it on" - they will easily fall under the weight of their own scrutiny. His metaphor is excellent .

To understand the fight in Kansas, you have to study what evolutionists accuse creationists of neglecting: the historical record. In the Scopes trial, creationists defended a ban on the teaching of evolution. That was the early, authoritarian stage of creationism, the equivalent of Australopithecus, the earliest hominid. Gradually, evolution gained the upper hand. In 1987, the Supreme Court ruled that states couldn't even require equal treatment of evolution and creationism. By 1999, creationists were asking the Kansas board not to rule out their beliefs entirely. This was creationism's more advanced Homo erectus phase: pluralism.

Six years later, evolutionists in Kansas are under attack again. They think the old creationism is back. They're mistaken. Homo erectus, the defense, on pluralist grounds, of the literal account of Genesis, is beginning to die out. The new challenger, ID, differs fundamentally from fundamentalism. Like its creationist forebears, ID is theistic. But unlike them, it abandons Biblical literalism, embraces open-minded inquiry, and accepts falsification, not authority, as the ultimate test. These concessions, sincere or not, define a new species of creationism, Homo sapiens, that fatally undermines its ancestors. Creationists aren't threatening us. They're becoming us.

Read the article, it's actually quite funny in parts.

posted by Broadsheet @ 12:08 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Canada government loses key vote
It would appear that the recent "troubles" up north are starting to have a real impact on the Canadian Labor Party and Paul Martin. This may well be the beginning of the end, and signal a shift to the Conservative Party and Bloc Quebecois.
Governments in Canada have to resign if they are defeated in the House of Commons in a formal vote of confidence or over key legislative matters such as the federal budget. A call for an early election is looking more and more likely, and if held today, Paul Martin's tenure would be even more questionable than it is currently. Currently, elections are slated to be called towards the end of the year, when a final report on the "kickback" scandal is released.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:46 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Twins put hurt on O's
Ugggh - this was just painful to watch last night. Beautiful evening for a game, we had a one run lead going into the seventh inning, and Bedard held the Twins to three hits in seven innings, and then it all fell apart with some bad calls, and an even worse relief pitcher.

Watching Matos' hand get absolutely creamed by the ball on a bunt, was painful - even from our seats out in high left field - and he's out with a badly broken finger. Oh, and Sosa's out indefinitely with an infection.

Meanwhile Steve Kline is the least popular guy in Baltimore right now. He allowed the tiebreaking run in Sunday's game that I attended against Kansas City after a botched (and disputed) balk, and then allowed unbelievable back to back homers in the 10th inning last night.

Here's hoping we can hang onto the 1 1/2 game lead we've built up in the League standings.......
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:28 AM   1 Editorial Opinions
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Pew Research Center Political Typology
This is an interesting questionnaire which only takes a few minutes. It divides the American public into nine distinct groups, each with their own unique outlook on politics and the issues of the day.

Not surprisingly, I came out a Liberal. According to the Pew definition; "Liberals: Affluent and highly secular. Like Enterprisers, liberals are ideologically consistent –- they take the liberal stance on social issues, foreign policy and the role of government. Nearly four-in-10 cite the Internet as their main source of news.

Ummm - yeah, I resemble that remark.

Liberals represent 17 percent of the American public, and 19 percent of registered voters.

The nine typology groups as defined by Pew are:

Enterprisers
Social Conservatives
Pro-Government Conservatives
Upbeats
Disaffecteds
Conservative Democrats
Disadvantaged Democrats
Liberals
Bystanders

Read the report - it's really interesting.
posted by Broadsheet @ 5:25 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Bushfish
I would say "Oh My God!!" in response to this nonsense, but that would be stating the obvious. Scariest thing EVER - prepare yourself.
posted by Broadsheet @ 12:00 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
Grand Rounds XXXIII
Grand Rounds XXXIII is up at spankysplace.blog-city.com, including an excellent article regarding something I struggle with every single day: getting accurate data into an Electronic Medical Record (EMR)from a myriad for clnical devices.

posted by Broadsheet @ 10:38 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Suspended UD student sues school
This is almost as good as the story about the carjacker who reported "his" car stolen....idiot.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:32 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Monday, May 09, 2005
Update
I will finish the Jazzfest posts, and pick up the pace again tomorrow - I promise!! I had a very fun and full social calendar this past weekend, and I've had some very difficult and stressful issues at work before /since I returned from vacation (and I do not blog about work issues or work people on this blog - so just get over it), but frankly, the weather's been so damn NICE, that there have been other things to do!!!

Things like work in the garden, use the grill, talk to your neighbors, go for a walk in the evenings, sit out on the deck and have a glass of wine with a friend / neighbors ..... and tomorrow night I'm going to another Oriole's game. I know, I should just get season tix, but that would limit me to going to the games with the same people in the same seats, and the beauty of my life is that I get to go to the games with an extremely wide variety and number of friends at any given time, and we always have a different venue. And the beauty of Camden Yards, is that there is truly no bad seat in that stadium. If it's a slow or less than important game/series - we can usually "upgrade" our seats to lower level, third baseline, reserve tickets if there are only 2 or 4 of us, by the top of the third inning. If the Yankees are in town - forget it. Oh, wait, that was last year. It will probably be open seating by the time we sweep (oops - I meant "play") them again. :-)

Tomorrow night it's the Minnesota Twins, and although they are doing well, they have been on the verge of being dissolved / sold for the last 2 seasons now, so we'll see.

At any rate, it's supposed to be another gorgeous spring day / evening weather wise, and while that trend continues, blogging will be somewhat lighter than in the winter months. We've been really blessed with the weather lately.

Yes, given this, I should change the name of the blog to "Fair Weather Blogger". I had every intention of coming home this evening and putting my notes and links together from Jazzfest, but I got home late, and by the time I walked in the back gate, the Boys Next Door had the grill going and the wine had been poured, and I haven't gone grocery shopping since I got back, so a dinner opportunity sort of presented itself.

Further rationalization will show that I still need to watch the Tivo-ed episodes of "Desperate Housewives, Deadwood, Veronica Mars, etc" from when I was gone and ......yeah - well, at least I post more than some people I know!
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:46 PM   4 Editorial Opinions
Times Panel Proposes Steps to Build Credibility
The New York Times reports on the results of an in-house committee that Executive Editor Bill Keller set up to look at ways of improving the paper's credibility to the public. Recent MSM gaffs, the Rathergate scandal, as well as the embarrassment the NYT suffered from the Jayson Blair scandal a few years ago, would make this seem like not only a reasonable committee to install, but an ongoing necessity. In fact, I'm quite surprised that this rather basic quality improvement process isn't mandatory at all major newspapers since it seems pretty obvious that there is an ongoing need to establish and maintain the highest levels of trust and credibility with your audience if you're considered any form of MSM these days. Some of the obvious recommendations?
As examples, the report cited limiting anonymous sources, reducing factual errors and making a clearer distinction between news and opinion. It also said The Times should make the paper's operations and decisions more transparent to readers through methods like making transcripts of interviews available on its Web site.

The report also said The Times should make it easier for readers to send e-mail to reporters and editors. "The Times makes it harder than any other major American newspaper for readers to reach a responsible human being," the report said.
The report is available here, and interestingly, Keller's call for this study came out of the beating that the Grey Lady took over it's coverage of the elections last year from both the left and right wings of the Internet.
The committee asserted that The Times must respond to its critics. The report said it was hard for the paper to resist being in a "defensive crouch" during the election but now urged The Times to explain itself "actively and earnestly" to critics and to readers who are often left confused when charges go unanswered.
I'm a bit awed by the fact that the NYT is just now realizing the enormity of the impact that the Internet is having on their paper. I mean, come on. They're just now realizing that in order for their dead tree product to be credible, they need to embrace the on-line community more effectively? Where have you been the last 5 years? Regardless, it's an interesting report and article - read the whole thing.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:56 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
The Huffington Post
And She's off! It will be interesting to see if she can sustain the hype and the "A" list celebrity bloggers. It will also be interesting to see if the celebrities let their hair down, or simply post well edited pieces ghost written by someone on their staff or the staff of Huffington's website. Regardless, I'll probably check in every now nad then for a few weeks to see how things are going.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:56 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Gold Cup
We (8 of us) had a great time yesterday rubbing shoulders with the horsey set at one of the hot tickets on the Washington social calendar yesterday. The 80th anniversary of the Virginia Gold Cup Steeplechase Races



This is the 7th year in a row we've gone, and we've always been blessed with gorgeous weather. We get our tickets through the University Row Alumni organization which offers VIP tickets to various university alumni organizations. The tickets include round trip coach transportation to and from DC, admission to private tents, and great food and an open bar. The food was really wonderful, and the drinks were plentiful. We had a great time watching the races and placing $2 bets all day, and a whopping $5 for the Gold Cup. Our friends Scott and Audrey come down from New Hampshire every year for the event. Audrey is our bookie and did a great job keeping track of the bets and everyone's money. Although, somewhat coincidentally, Scott managed to win the pot four out of five times. Hmmmm. That's OK, we made Scott buy the beer after the races. Here's Scott placing a bet with Audrey (that's Beth in the background) - he'll get his money back shortly.



Today, we're off to brunch and the Orioles versus Kansas City game before Scott and Audrey have to fly home. Great weekend!

Our friend, Teri, won the award in our little group for "best hat" of the day.

teri
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:38 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Friday, May 06, 2005
Jazzfest Day 2: The Music and Everything After
We started this glorious day with some truly authentic Cajun / Creole Zydeco music by Goldman Thibodeaux and the Lawtell Playboys. This is true Creole music. Sung entirely in Creole / French and very, very true to its origins. Simply wonderful, toe tapping, stuff. Thibodeaux is widely regarded as one of the very best and most authentic Creole Zydeco artists today, and is widely respected for his authenticity. This was a unique opportunity to hear one of the last, and truly great practitioners of this uniquely American music genre. I really, really enjoyed it. The Fais-do-do Stage (oh, by the way "Fais-do-do" is a Creole term for a type of local dance), was one of my favorites. It was small, intimate, and hosted the very best of indigenous, Cajun/Zydeco/Creole/Rockabilly music. It was also on the way to and from a lot of other venues and a great place to stop and dance for a few tunes on your way to the next major act. I liked the stage itself too. It was an old racing shed dressed up for the occasion:



After our morning "wake up" set from Thibodeaux (and a wonderful cup of Mango Sorbet), I stuck around to hear one or two tunes from Kim Carson and Buffalo Speedway. She's a great musician, but a little too Texas Road House Country for me, so I headed over to hear my man, Charles Neville and his quartet. Like I said yesterday, you can't throw a stick around this place without hitting a Neville. Just incredible. Can't say much more than that.

Now - off to another favorite. I have been a fan of hers for a while and was thrilled to learn she'd be playing Jazzfest again this year: Martha Redbone. In addition to being absolutely gorgeous, this woman can SING. Think Prince meets Sly Stone, meets Alicia Keyes, meets George Clinton, meets Stevie Wonder and Al Green. That's Martha. She really had the crowd going. The Congo Stage where she was playing was also near one of the major food areas, so it was also an opportunity to run over and grab something wonderful for a late lunch. I grabbed a softshell crayfish Po' Boy. Po'Boys are the submarine sandwich / hoagie of New Orleans, and softshell crayfish, like softshell crabs, are the molting stage of the crustacean and can be eaten whole without peeling them. Yum. Nothing like it.

Fortified and warmed up from dancing to Martha, we headed over to what I was anticipating as my favorite act of the day and was not disappointed. Jamie Cullum. What a treat! I had seen him at the Newport Jazz Festival back in September, and he brought the house down. He did it again. He has such an engaging, enthusiastic, JOY for what he does, that you can't help but get drawn in. He was so happy to be there, that it was impossible not to get excited. He played a lot of stuff from his Twenty Something CD, but he also let loose on some covers (Elton John) and some new tunes from his upcoming album, including a haunting song called "Photos", about an old photograph he came across in a shoebox at his Mum and Dad's over the holidays (or as nostalgic as you can be at 25 - sheesh). Darling, darling guy and fun to watch!

We ended the day with 30,000 other folks to hear Widespread Panic, who played an unusually long set (for Jazzfest) of 2.5 hours. Opening with "Fishwater", they had a "sit in" with one of the ubiquitous Neville Brothers, Ivan, on stage, adding a bit of authentic New Orleans soul to the cut's keyboard groove. They played longtime classics, such as "Ain't Life Grand, and also their newest material, including the rapidly developing "Second Skin" (not a reference to my bleeding feet!). Widespread Panic really created a mini-festival within the boundaries of the JazzFest fairgrounds. Continuing the "sit in" tradition, they invited Galactic saxophonist Ben Ellman onstage for a version of "Guilded Splinters", which segued into an extended Dead-style drum jam. Then, inviting his Stockholm Syndrome bandmate Wally Ingram onstage, Dave Schools returned before his fellow axe-men, laying his low-end notes beneath Ingram's eclectic percussion. It was pretty damn cool.

I really hope you USE the links I'm providing to check some of these acts out if you've never heard of them or are simply curious. One of the best things about Jazzfest is discovering music that you weren't aware of. That happened to me with Jeremy Lyons and with a group from tomorrow's lineup that I'll tell you about. Keep in mind that what I am reviewing is less than 10% (!!!) of what was playing at Jazzfest..... 60+ acts a day for four days....

So, after some Widespread Panic, we retired to the hotel for post Festival activities. We were a little more laid back than the previous 2 days thanks to the sunshine, music, dancing, and wear and tear of two previous days! When we were on the balcony of the Red Rhino the previous evening, we were envious of the diners across the street at a wonderful Bourbon St. restaurant with tables on its own balcony where you could have a nice meal and enjoy the atmosphere instead of drinking beers and leering at people. I was sure there must be a 2 week reservation necessary for the place, but we simply walked in around 9:30 PM and were seated on the balcony! It was just 3 of us for the evening, the other 5 members of our group had decided to focus on liquid sustenance and a less expensive venue. I had a wonderful dinner of grilled red fish with (what else?) a crayfish sauce, and we had some lovely wine. Afterwards, we did a little shopping and might have had a hurricane or two, but nothing too serious. Oh, Diane and I did perform a Blow Job or two. Not THAT silly - it's a drink - a shot really - served in a test tube and offered up by hostesses on Bourbon St., sporting less than natural breasts (think Hooters waitresses). We also seemed to be very popular for having beads bestowed upon us that evening, and that's all I'm gonna say on that subject. ;-)

We eventually wandered down to the gay end of Bourbon St. to check out OZ. Diane and I had a LOT of fun, but I think Chuck was a little intimidated by the Dominatrix shemale bouncer dressed up like Pinhead from a Clive Barker movie and wearing 6 inch platforms shoes, who was guarding the door.

There's something for everyone in the Big Easy. Day 3 next......
posted by Broadsheet @ 7:28 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Jazzfest Day 2: Eat, drink, dance. Repeat as Necessary
Another stunningly beautiful day. Cloudless blue sky, 72 degrees, light breeze…there just can’t possibly be a more perfect environment in which to sit on a blanket and listen to your favorite music with your friends all day. The crowds at Jazzfest are something else entirely, and contribute to the enjoyment of the Festival equally as much, if not more than, the great music. Without exception, Jazzfest goers are happy, polite, laid WAY back and simply there to have a good time. There is a definite karma to Jazzfest – and it’s a really, really good one. We were always meeting great people, and by the end of the fourth day, you run into the friends you make at the concerts along the way throughout the fairgrounds. These two gentlemen are but one example – a lawyer and an Emergency Room physician from VA (who asked to remain anonymous by donning a Mardi Gras thong), that we really had a good time with one afternoon.



Once you set up your lawn chairs or blankets, you are free to roam the festival grounds and be assured that even though someone might stop by to sit and listen at your little camp, no one will walk off with your chairs or move your little piece of real estate. Apart from the much younger demographic for the Dave Mathews concert on Saturday night, the demographic at Jazzfest was basically our group: Mid thirties to late forties. There were lots of couples and families with babies and little kids. Not many teenagers however, and a decent cohort of folks my parents age who were having the time of their lives. And did I mention that Jazzfest is the best place in the world for people watching?



Another ritual of Jazzfest is the flags. Large, happy groups like ours are the norm, and many people attend Jazzfest year after year, generation after generation. In order to locate groups of friends in the large field areas of the Racecourse, people create colorful flags on long tent poles and stick them in the ground as markers. These can be really creative, and range from state flags (like the Maryland one in the photo below!), to whirly gigs, to stuffed toys, to; well…..you just never know what you’ll see. Love the leg. Reminds me of the lamp in "A Christmas Story".


Another great thing that happens when you get so many talented musicians together to celebrate music is the “sit-in”, where musicians from one group show up in another act to jam. The “sit in” holds a certain voodoo, and offers the rare opportunity to hear once in a lifetime match ups and performances. At times, it’s a rite of passage, a passing of the torch between different generations of likeminded musicians. Other times, the sit-in serves as a three-dimensional family reunion, a chance for longtime friends to recreate their backstage energy in front of an equally energetic audience. In certain instances, the sit-in also serves as a formal welcome, an opportunity for local musicians to greet their guests with a taste of native culture. But, no matter the initial impetus, the sit-in has become a bedrock of Jazzfest, living proof of the genre’s fraternal nature.

I’m going to break this post up and review the day’s music in a separate post. For now, I leave you with a picture of a contented concert goer, our buddy Spatty catching some rays.

posted by Broadsheet @ 5:31 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Chavez Ravine
Ry Cooder's next CD will be out on June 7!!
The songs on "Chavez Ravine," due June 7 on his own Perro Verde Records imprint through Nonesuch, are sung in Spanish and English. Helping Cooder weave the pastiche of conjunto, corrido, R&B, Latin pop and jazz are Chicano music great Lalo Guerrero, late Pachuco legend Don Tosti, singer Little Willie G. (Thee Midniters) and Ersi Arvizu (The Sisters, El Chicano).
Straight on to my Amazon.com wish list!!
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:48 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
And the best headline award goes to....
The best headline regarding yesterday's UK elections? "Kicked in the Ballots"
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:20 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Another winning logo
And the truly unfortunate logo of the month award goes to.....Instituto de Estudos Orientais . AKA Institute of Oriental Studies at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil.



HT: boingboing
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:25 AM   2 Editorial Opinions
Carjack Suspect Reports 'His' Car Stolen
Only in Baltimore....sigh.
Baltimore police detective Gregory Jenkins felt compelled to end his report of the incident with the admonition, "Again, this really happened."

posted by Broadsheet @ 9:17 AM   1 Editorial Opinions
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Be Part of No Pants Day
A new National Holiday is born: No Pants Day.

Jwer, a holiday just for you!
posted by Broadsheet @ 6:41 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Not Their Cup of Tea
Oh for heaven's sake! Starbucks is boycotting the Boss???

Is Starbucks the new Wallmart in their effort to "censor" what they sell to the public? Since when is America's java juggernaut the new Conservative Police?
According to those involved in the matter, Springsteen was never involved directly in the potential deal, which was han­dled by Columbia Records. Columbia also refused to comment. However, those close to the deal—speaking on condition that they not be identified—told NEWSWEEK that Starbucks initially wanted a promotional link be­tween the new Springsteen CD and the Starbucks brand. But Columbia Records, apparently without consulting Springsteen, balked out of deference to the artist’s long­standing aversion to becoming a pitchman. The sources said Starbucks countered with a proposal to merely sell the CD at its out­lets. But after listening to the album, Star­bucks executives stopped negotiations after hearing “Reno.”
Knowing Bruce's abject reluctance to pitch any product with his music, I can't believe he'd be happy with Columbia over this deal.

All this aside - go get the "Devils and Dust" CD - it's brilliant.
posted by Broadsheet @ 4:53 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
Day 2: Duct Tape
Jazzfest: Day 1.

So, upon getting out of bed the next morning, I went to stand up and felt as though I had stepped on glass shards with my left foot. I fully expected my head to feel like that, but not my foot! I hobbled over to turn on the light, and discovered that I no longer had any skin left at all on my big toe, the ball of my foot was one gigantic blister, and my little toe was also completely blistered. Damn tennis shoes!! I performed some minor surgery to alleviate the blisters, applied some bandages, and determined that I was destined to wear flip flops for the rest of the week to avoid having anything rub on my foot. After a day of limping along in pain, losing the bandages, and having blood oozing on everything, I went to Walgreen's and bought some gel bandages ("second skin"). They still didn't hold well with sandals, and the bottom of my foot was a piece of raw meat. I finally applied duct tape to hold the gel on, and hold the mess together - yes, duct tape, - and it did the trick! So despite that bit of unpleasantness, we had an awful lot of fun our first day out (although favoring my foot made for some awkward dance moves - more awkward than usual that is).

First, a primer on Jazzfest for the uninitiated: This was the 35th year of Jazzfest which first started in 1970 and featuring gospel legend Mahalia Jackson and jazz great Duke Ellington. Jazzfest is largely a misnomer - the festival is really designed to promote all the elements of Louisiana heritage: a large daytime fair with multiple stages featuring a wide variety of indigenous music styles, food booths of Louisiana cuisine, and arts and crafts booths. So in addition to jazz, you have equal representation of the very best of Southern rock, bluegrass, blues, R&B, funk, Caribbean, folk, gospel, Cajun, Zydeco, Native American and African Congo music. To be honest, New Orleans really does represent the very best musical heritage that is uniquely American.

By the second year, Jazzfest moved to its current location, the Fair Grounds Race Course, which is the third-oldest racetrack in America (open since 1872). Jazz Fest grew quickly over the next few years, constantly expanding its use of the 145-acre site.



So - Day 1. The grounds open at about 10:00 every day, and the first set starts at 11:00. Each "concert" is between 45 minutes to 1.5 hours long, and you can sit in for a few songs and then wander next door and catch another act to maximize your time and exposure to some great groups. We arrived and set off to see Ellipsis, a great start to the day given their unique mix of soulful, bluesy, folky rock.

It's easy to feel guilty at Jazzfest because you are always aware that there is somewhere else you could and should be. Indeed, sometimes it's easier to wander between the festival's thirteen stages, absorbing bits and pieces of each act to create one collective conscience. One of the best T-shirts I saw said "Don't judge Jazzfest by the greatness of what you saw, but by the greatness of what you had to skip in order to see it" So true.

From Ellipsis, we headed over to hear Jeremy Lyons and the Deltabilly Boys. These guys simply rocked, and were very playful as well. Lyons is an amazing guitarist with a great voice, and played steel guitar and banjo with equal skill, with a bluesy, rockabilly style. They reminded me a lot of the Squirrel Nut Zippers.



From there, we decided to head across the fair grounds and catch Charmaine Neville (you couldn't throw a stick at this festival without hitting some member of the Neville family - they were simply everywhere, all the time. They own this town and this festival), and along the way, stopped for a few songs at the wonderful Fais-do-do stage and caught some great Cajun music by the Red Stick Ramblers. This band was impossible NOT to dance to, and a lot of people (including moi) were happy to join in! This is a really fun band to hear live.

Charmaine Neville ("the best pair of lungs in New Orleans"), backed up by her saxophonist father Charles and pianist uncle Cyrus, as well as other family members, including a couple of kids on fiddle and percussion, was just great, and had the crowd on their feet. By the time she wrapped up, it was close to 2:30 and we were long overdue for some food and the first beer of the day on our way back across the fairgrounds to catch the subdudes.

The festival food really deserves a post of its own. There are simply so many choices and it was all incredible. It was also very well organized and prepared considering they were serving up to 100,000 people per day. Every conceivable incarnation of crayfish, shrimp, crab, and oyster dish you can imagine, and some that you can't (BBQ alligator on a stick!). Most dishes cost $4 or $6 - basically a small or large. The first day I had a plate that contained oyster pie - plump oysters and veggies in a wonderful sauce filling a small pastry shell, a phyllo sack of crayfish etoufee, and 3 crayfish beignets with remoulade sauce, it was incredible. Another highlight was the frozen café au lait courtesy of the Café du Monde booth. I had one every afternoon without fail.

Now things really began to pick up. An early afternoon highlight, the subdudes' mixture of rock and zydeco peaked with an accordion reference to the "dirty mud people." If you like Keb' Mo, or Toots and the Maytals, you'll love the subdudes. At this point, we just stayed put at the Acura stage, because next up was none other than Nickel Creek. They may well have been my favorite act all day. A pleasant blend of bluegrass and pop, Nickel Creek nodded to JazzFest's sea of crowd flags, territorially marking veteran concertgoers ground (more on these later).

08_Nikel_Creek_0885

Not to be outdone, the last act to take the stage was headliner Jack Johnson, who invited his Brushfire-bandmate Donavon Frankenreiter onstage for an acoustic jam. Frankenreiter had played earlier in the day, but we had to skip him for Charmaine Neville, so this was a compromise bonus to hear him play with Jack. He also did a nod to G. Love with a version of "Rodeo Clowns" (which Johnson initially included on Special Sauce's Philadelphonic ).

Since we had to exit the fairgrounds by crossing in front of the other main stage, we headed towards the exit after listening to 2/3rds of the Jack Johnson concert in order to catch the end of the BB King concert (yes, I know - it's an embarrassment of riches, a real "luxury problem"). It would appear that everyone else had the same idea, because the crowds really became overwhelmingly tight at this point - uncomfortably so. We got to hear BB's version of "Rock Me Baby" and "The Thrill is Gone," but to be honest, he spent a lot of time talking to the audience. So much so that you wanted to yell, "Shut and play already!"

Thus ended the first, highly successful day of Jazzfest, and thus also began the après festival ritual of returning to the hotel for showers, a change of clothes, and a cocktail, before heading down to the French Quarter for a late dinner and an evening on the town. Based upon a recommendation from the hotel front desk, we ended up at Deanies Seafood. It was a bit of a tourist trap: loud, and bright, and not very intimate, but the food was quite good. By this time, I just wanted a salad and a glass of wine anyway.

We wound up the evening on the balcony at the Red Rhino where we met a couple of fun guys in town for a government sponsored conference, and amused ourselves by people watching the action on Bourbon St. below us. Diane and I spent some time fending off an otherwise harmless fellow who was trying to convince us (rather unconvincingly) that his "poor dead wife" would want him to be happy..... We amassed a growing collection of Go Cups and headed back to bed a little after 1:00 AM so we could repeat it all over again the next day.....
posted by Broadsheet @ 3:10 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
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