Monday, June 25, 2007

The Picnic Trash

As you can see from the comments section in my George Bush/Kermit Ruffins post, some people are really upset with me.

I said there and I'll say again, that I had not seen the video when I wrote that. I had only read the transcript, and hey, read it yourself and you might see how I could get the idea that our President was directing the comment to Mr. Ruffins.

Okay, I get it. He wasn't.

That having been said, one commenter called New Orleans residents, probably me in particular, whiners. I have to reject that.

In my opinion, the insensitivity of both the theme and the comment is still troublesome. Someone up there thought a Mardi Gras themed party for Congress, held in mid-June, was a good idea. I find that bizarre and yes, culturally insensitive--but then Americans have always been a bit dense in the area of cultural sensitivity. Just ask the Native Americans, the Vietnamese or the Iraqis.

It was also insensitive to be celebrating an aspect of a city that Bush clearly wishes to forget. He wants to forget his horrendous response to the storm named Katrina, and although he promised that the US Government would stay as long as it took, etc. (his speech is burned into New Orleanians' memories word for word and still lit by arc lights), he has let the Corps of Engineers continue to hold us hostage to their levee and floodgate serendipity. ("We'll build temporary floodgates, no we won't, we'll build permanent ones. They'll be done by 2012.")

Meanwhile, here in the City, the Corps posted maps showing the possibility of flooding pre-Katrina in any given area in the city, and now the possibility post-Katrina. Many people are re-building homes in the areas that are still prone to flooding, and taking their anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills hoping not to lose what they are just getting back. And at that, there are still entire areas of this city that look like a bomb hit them.

I say to Mr. Bush, come on down and really do something. Then I'll say thanks for coming, we'll take you to K-Paul's for dinner, Mr. Ruffins is playing at the Blue Nile Friday night, we'll give you some beads, and we hope you'll pick up the trash left by the Corps' incompetent levee design on your way out.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Following in Da Po' Blog's Wake

I decided to see what my blog was rated:

What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

dead (11x) gun (10x) death (3x) bitch (2x) zombie (1x)

I gotta quit complimenting the Zombie.

George Bush Wants Kermit Ruffins to Pick Up the Trash

This week, President Bush gave a picnic for Congress on the South Lawn. The theme, no, I'm not kidding, MARDI GRAS. Paul Prudhomme catered, Kermit Ruffins and his band played.

Not a word about the current state of New Orleans, or Louisiana, just a really badly racist and demeaning joke about "picking up the trash." You gotta see it to believe it.

I am posting the White House transcript in toto:

June 19, 2007

President and Mrs. Bush Host Congressional Picnic
South Lawn

8:10 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for coming. Laura and I welcome you to the South Lawn. This is an opportunity to thank the members of Congress and their families for serving the United States.

First, I want to recognize the Speaker. Madam Speaker, thank you for joining us. It means a lot that you've come. I appreciate the leadership of the House and the Senate who have joined us. For all the wives and husbands, thank you for standing by your spouse. It's not easy to be in public office. It's a lot easier, though, when you have somebody who loves you to help you do your job. And so Laura and I want to thank you all, in particular. We're proud to be serving with you. Occasionally we might have our differences, but one thing we all agree on is we represent the greatest country on the face of the Earth. (Applause.)

I want to thank our Chef, Paul Prudhomme, from New Orleans, Louisiana -- one of the great chefs in America. Thanks for coming, Paul. (Applause.) I thank Tony Snow and his bunch of, well, mediocre musicians -- (laughter) -- no, great musicians. Beats Workin, thanks for coming. (Applause.) Kermit, come up here. Kermit, we're proud to have you.

MR. RUFFINS: Well, thanks for having us.

THE PRESIDENT: Kermit Ruffins and the Barbeque Swingers, right out of New Orleans, Louisiana. (Applause.)

MR. RUFFINS: Thank you. Thanks for having us. We're glad to be here.

THE PRESIDENT: Proud you're here. Thanks for coming. You all enjoy yourself. Make sure you pick up all the trash after it's over. (Laughter.)

God bless you, and may God bless America. Thanks for coming. (Applause.)

END 8:12 P.M. EDT

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tips on Lennon's Piano

As we all know, John Lennon wrote a song called "Imagine." What we imagine when we think of him and that song is a huge white grand piano, thanks to an album cover image that's stuck in our heads. The piano that he actually wrote the song on is not a huge white grand at all, it's a rather small upright which now belongs to George Michael.

The folks at The Lennon Piano Project have taken this piano all over the country in a van, no less. Their hope is that the piano upon which a great anthem for Peace was written will help bring peace in the playing and displaying of it. (They have some great photos at their link.)

Friday evening the piano was at the Ogden Museum. Saturday night it was at the end of its tour, the last night for it to travel. It sat in front of the hearth at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shoppe on Bourbon Street. Piano players from all over the city were showing up to play ten or twenty minutes on that piano. The place was packed. It was really lovely and some great music was played, although I haven't identified all the players yet, (one is Bruce Elsensohn)and I missed about the first 45 minutes.

The Lennon Piano for Peace people are doing a documentary, which upon completion, will be shown at the Ogden. For now, we have some photos. The one above is the piano with tips on it. I found it odd and funny to see tips on top of John Lennon's piano. (I will also say that when everyone was finished, I quietly walked up to it and played two notes, just to have done it. I noticed a lot of others doing the same thing, like a little connective ritual between the piano, its travels, its message and us.)

I have posted more photos here at Flickr. I hope to identify the other players and label the photos.

It is a lovely idea, and it was a lovely evening.

I'm guessing the tips will go in the gas tank of the van.