Saturday, February 24, 2007

Jesus Walks

Every time I go to New Orleans I like to look at the crazy cross with the scrolling digital display.

Tonight I watched Jesus Camp, and it creeped me out. Their assuredness is what unnerves me. They are proud of the cultural war and are stoking that fire. They are placing a fear and urgency in their members and especially the children that is reflected in the tactics of the government.

I probably shouldn't talk about it now because these kind of movies make me very paranoid.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Let's Get Nasty

Just before Xmas I received a mysterious package. I wasn't expecting anything...I don't get many presents in the mail anymore. When I opened the plain brown box, I discovered a copy of The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain. Oh joy! Months before, I had filled out an online form to receive the book for free. I have no recollection of why the site was making the offer...hell, I don't even remember the site.

Anyway, I finally started reading it a few weeks ago, and it lives up to and exceeds his Travel Channel show, No Reservations. He's a got a Noo Yawk punk attitude--bitterness, irreverent seriousness, and curiosity--about food and the places he goes to find it. Great stuff.

The other day I tweaked my dear friend Missus Tanya about her pro-Bourdain post. This is because T is a big fat (or skinny) vegetarian. And if you've watched the show or read his books, you know that Mr. Bourdain is against the veggie people because he doesn't think you should limit your eating curiosity to non-meat items. (See his scathing take on Woody Harrelson and the raw food movement included in full in this book.) As a fully recovered vegetarian I have to agree.

Aren't people who quit something--whether quitting meat or smoking, or even quitting not eating meat--the most annoying? They always feel the need to heckle the other side--often with little or no humor about it--as I am doing now (hopefully with some humor). But I do it with love as I remember all too clearly my family making me the butt of all food jokes during my 10 year sentence as a vegetarian. ("If he gets hungry on the way, we can just pull over to the side of the road and let him gnaw on a tree!" Much laughter and looking to see how the vegetarian will react.)

So I am on a plane reading the book and I had a laugh-out-loud moment. Bourdain is in shock when he is in a dingy old London pub and he discovers that, not only do they have a gourmet menu and call themselves a "Gastro-Pub," but they have a whole side of the menu dedicated to vegetarian food. This does not sit well:

"A good pub should never have fine food. What's wrong with a good meat pie? Black pudding? Sausages? Shepherd's pie is a beautiful thing. I don't want truffles in it! And a vegetarian menu? In a pub? Vegetarians in a pub? For their own good, vegetarians should never be allowed near fine beers and ales. It will only make them loud and belligerent, and they lack the physical strength and aggressive nature to back up any drunken assertions."

Bah dum dump. Good stuff. Mrs. T is the one person who jumped into a fight with me many years ago, so I would never accuse her of not having an aggressive nature. But still, it's a good joke.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


As I ponder leaving Houston and returning to San Francisco, it is sights like these that I will miss. This kind of crazy non-ironic expression of personal taste is wonderful. I imagine this being parked next to the Pussy Wagon with sweet, sweet love floating on the breeze.

Beautiful Beau

This is Beau, the very handsome dog that lived in the yard outside my apartment in Austin. He was a very big but skittish dog who would go crazy when he heard rain or especially thunder. I would come home and my Vespa would be knocked over because he had freaked out and rammed the gate open to escape from the booming thunder.

I miss seeing Beau every day. Hope the ice last month didn't make him too cold.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Sara Gets Needled

Sara has been getting acupuncture for migraines. I've heard crazy stories from friends where they go in for their first session and have this total emotional reaction to the procedure, breaking down and crying. This did not happen for Sara. In fact, not much happened in either of her sessions.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

More New Orleans Drinking

I know this is a total tourist drink. I know it is totally cheesy to go into a bar and order this. But c'mon, this is in the French Quarter just down the block from Cafe du Monde. Of all the places in NOLA that I go to every time--Coop's for the shrimp po' boy, the bar at the Monteleone--I always look forward to going to Molly's to get the frozen coffee drink.

This is strange if you know me. I hate coffee. Never had a cup, don't like candy or ice cream with coffee flavor. But when I go to New Orleans I always go to Molly's (in the case of this trip it was multiple visits) to get their "famous" frozen coffee drink. It is manna from the gods.

New Orleans for My Birthday

To celebrate my birthday and say bye bye to the South, Sara and I went to New Orleans for a few days. The city is still trying to put everything together after Katrina (restaurants are still closed, touristas are still not back in full force), but overall the average visitor won't see much difference from pre-hurricane NOLA. Unless you are visiting the 9th Ward or outside of the French Quarter/Garden District area things are pretty much back to normal. I even saw some boobies flashed, which just made me feel warm all over.

Anyway, the top photo is from our hotel. Loved the chandelier's creepy faces, so I had to share.

The second photo is from my favorite bar in the world, the carousel bar at the Hotel Monteleone. (Better picture here.) My friend Yvonne introduced me to this bar six or seven years ago, and it is the one go to spot where you can get away from Bourbon Street chuckleheads and have any drink you can think of made with perfection. Sara ordered a Ramos Fizz, which you rarely see made with actual egg whites anymore. It sounds sketchy, but was like a delicious dessert. I stuck to a Rusty Nail, which isn't all that complicated. Some may find the carousel aspect a little cheesy, but I love the slight dissonance it causes the more you drink.

So go visit and remember that every drink you take you are supporting the rebuilding of New Orleans.

Beer Goggles Equation: SOLVED!


  • An = number of units of alcohol consumed
  • S = smokiness of the room (graded from 0-10, where 0 clear air; 10 extremely smoky)
  • L = luminance of 'person of interest' (candelas per square metre; typically 1 pitch black; 150 as seen in normal room lighting)
  • Vo = Snellen visual acuity (6/6 normal; 6/12 just meets driving standard)
  • d = distance from 'person of interest' (metres; 0.5 to 3 metres)

  • This is not a joke. It comes from a BBC Article based on a Manchester (England) University study:

    "Researchers at Manchester University say while beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder, the amount of alcohol consumed is not the only factor.

    Additional factors include the level of light in the pub or club, the drinker's own eyesight and the room's smokiness.

    The distance between two people is also a factor."

    Now if they could just get that formula for what "aesthetically pleasing" is equal to, we could settle this beauty thing once and for all.