Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Orleans Art: Things are changing since Hurricane Katrina came

"Parade Watchers" by Myrtle von Damitz, III and Mardi Gras costume by Jackie Mang

New Orleans has been an introverted bohemian draw for centuries, but recent international attention to all aspects of the city's cultural phenomenon's has delivered new energy and intensity to its visual arts community. The art scene in New Orleans is at a turning point. The world's established contemporary art market is at a turning point as well, with more focus on source and originality of work, beyond the pure numbers of the market.

Many dynamic new visual arts alliances have formed since Hurricane Katrina - not just out of the intellectual petri dish of Barrister's Gallery but as a response to a wider desire of local artists to communicate with their friends and neighbors and to broadcast their sensibilities to the rest of the world. One such group aligned with Barrister's Gallery and the Antiabecedarians is the New Orleans Airlift (

Prostitute bites ShamWow Guy's tongue! He slugs her in the chops!

   How many times have you seen an infomercial with this guy's mug? His real name is Vince Shlomi and he's a successful pitchman for absorbent towels and food choppers.

   After hiring a prostitute for a night of straight sex she started right off biting his tongue and not letting go! He slugged her in the chops and was later arrested for felony assault.

   When the cops found out about what she did, they arrested her and charged her with felony assault. As luck would have it, prosecutors decided to drop all formal charges and the two were released.

   But wait! There's more to this story. Go to thesmokinggun to get all of the juicy details and get a free thrill! Hurry...the first 200 visitors will get an autographed photo of the ShamWow guy's booking photo!

Don't delay...

Photo via

Friday, March 27, 2009

Step right up folks and see the fabulous fleas flying through the air!

These clearly bizarre posters are lovingly created by David Manuel

Like People Say: 'It's not who you are, but who are you related too?'

  • Nepotism; favoritism shown to relatives, especially in appointment to desirable positions

  • California jobs go to those with connections

Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times / File

Excerpt from article:

"Lawmakers can hire anyone they choose. Sometimes that means friends and family.

"It looks like nepotism," said Tracy Westen, chief executive of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles. "It's the kind of thing the public doesn't like: people using their power and influence to provide cushy jobs to friends and family."

Read the whole article here.

Cartoon (By Leo Cullum) via via The New Yorker

Senators steal taxpayer money under guise of PACs: Bailed-out banks give thanks by donating money to lawmakers

Mike Huckabee, a recent candidate for president and governor of Arkansas, is known to be a PAC porker, but even Huckabee wouldn't take PAC money from government bailed-out companies, unlike the senators mentioned in the following article from The Raw Story. The same senators who have spoke out with feigned indignity over the AIG controversy are busy collecting PAC money. House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer, and House GOP Whip, Eric Cantor, lead the list of shame, but are followed by other senators who don't mind stealing tax payer money!  


By Jeremy Gantz

The federal bank bailouts may be giving new meaning to the term "kickback."
Many of the banks rescued last year with taxpayer money have contributed to the campaign coffers of some politicians who approved the bailouts, according to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Read the whole article here.

If you want to read more about this subject NewsWeek has a good article titled "Follow the bailout cash."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Exporting American Jobs: IBM fires Americans and sends their jobs overseas to India!

You sure can't call IBM patriotic when it comes to employing Americans. They just eliminated 5000 jobs here and are outsourcing them to India. Sound familiar? It ought to. The newspaper industry has been outsourcing jobs to India for a couple of years now and look what it's done for them. Nothing. They're still struggling and closing down across the country. I think those economists that argue outsourcing is good for America are full of prime A bullshit! Getting rid of jobs when 12 million Americans are out of work is bad enough. Sending them overseas is down right shitty and all that I would expect from a corporate entity with no heart or soul.

Here's an interesting take on what's happening today from TIME CNN -

IBM and the Rebirth of Outsourcing

A couple of month ago, India's chief finance minister may have made calls to the heads of IBM and several other large U.S. tech companies to tell them that the huge developing nation was hemorrhaging high-end tech jobs. Whether the call happened or not, looking at statistics from India it would be easy to see that the costs of outsourcing technology work to firms based there is dropping as unemployment in the country rises.


The Uptick in Home Sales Sends a False and Dangerous Signal
Still No Road to Recovery in Detroit
Nintendo Brings a New Product to the U.S. and Wants to Crush Microsoft and Sony
More Related

For a number of years, unions and members of Congress spent a great deal of time complaining about the number of U.S. jobs being sent abroad. The bitterness about the issue seems to have receded recently, especially as the recession has deepened and large American companies have been inclined to cut jobs as much or more than they have been able to export them. Perhaps with the economy losing about 600,000 jobs a month, the need for efficiency though outsourcing has become less immediate. (See pictures of the Top 10 scared traders.)

Photo by STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty

Was Abraham Lincoln Gay? Some researches, to my surprise, say he was!

I was watching the History Channel this morning and was very surprised to hear that some researchers think Abraham Lincoln was gay. At first I thought it was just some wild way to induce viewers so I did a bit of research, and here's what I found....


IVORY TOWER... Was Lincoln Gay?

"The 28-year-old traveler was tall, with rough hands, a chiseled jaw and unforgettable, deep-set, melancholy eyes. He arrived in town, his worldly possessions in two battered suitcases, and inquired at a general store about buying some bedding. But the price was far beyond his budget. The strikingly handsome 23-year-old merchant took pity on the man and invited him into his own bed, free of charge, which happened to be just upstairs. The traveler inspected the bed and, looking into the merchant's sparkling blue eyes, agreed on the spot. For the next four years the two men shared that bed along with their most private fears and desires.

If this sounds like the opening of a homoerotic dime-store novel whose subsequent scenes feature fiery loins and ecstatic eruptions, hold your panting."

Read this whole story here.

Image via

Here's some more information from Wikipedia.


"Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed met in Springfield, Illinois, during the 1830s. Although Speed returned to his native Kentucky, they remained friends throughout life. In this letter, Lincoln expresses his thinking about slavery, which contrasted with Speed, who grew up on a plantation and owned slaves.

The year before Lincoln wrote this letter, the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed Congress, repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and opened the territories to slavery. The passage of this bill proved a turning point in Lincoln's career. As he observed, "I was losing interest in politics, when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused me again."

Springfield, Illinois
August 24, 1855



Dear Cecil:

In the recent debate around gay marriage, the Log Cabin Republicans have come up. I understand their deal is that Abraham Lincoln was gay and grew up in a log cabin, so they align themselves with his sexuality through endorsing his upbringing. Whatever. My question is, how valid is the allegation of Honest Abe being gay? I realize that "we may never really know," but my impression is that he was a rowdy skirt chaser in his youth. What evidence do we have that he chased pants as well? Surely having a harridan for a wife isn't evidence enough?

— Bill in Connecticut



"Tripp surveys seven of Lincoln's relationships, four with men and three with women, as well as two episodes from his early life. The discussion of Lincoln's youth is worthless. Relying on Lincoln's law partner and earliest biographer, William Herndon, Tripp decides that Lincoln reached puberty when he was 9 years old. Since Kinsey concluded that early maturing boys tended to become witty masturbators with lots of homosexual experience, Tripp concludes the same of Lincoln. He claims even more for Lincoln's adolescence, including a source for his religious heterodoxy. ''Since Lincoln had already arrived on his own at the powerful pleasures of orgasm . . . one can be sure that like most precocious youngsters he was in no mood to give it all up for bookish or Bible reasons.'' One can be sure, if one is as credulous as Tripp."



Billy had a bad hangover and needed another shot of sake!

Okay that's not what really happened here, but looking at him you could be excused for thinking he was suffering a bad hangover! Actually, according to Yahoo's Most Emailed Photos:

"With facecloth on the head, male Baikal Seal Billy performs 'a dip in a hot spring' as he holds a sake bottle in a basin with forefoot at a pool of Hakone-en aquarium in Hakone, west of Tokyo, Tuesday, March 17, 2009.

It took some three months for six-year-old Billy to master this performance, a traditional Japanese style of soaking in a hot spring."

(AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Happiness is a warm earlobe on a cold day....

(image credit: farkkelt)

Don't tell me work can't be fun...

No autographs please!

Who are these three mysterious women and why are they smiling?

I'm married to one of these revelers.
She tells me that she goes to work everyday and doesn't play.
But now I have photo evidence that it's party time in the office she "works" in.
There's another photo of my wife on this blog if you want to look at it and make an educated guess as to which one of these party girls are mine!

What does morality have to do with these hard times?

  Our society has practically eliminated the need for morals with a "me first" mentality that disregards what's right or wrong in the world. Like Rome, we are slowly crumbling from within. The 21st century is a story of rampant capitalism and it's destructive nature. Some people are writing about this subject like Chris Hedges of Truthdig in his article titled, "America is need of a moral bailout" 

I have a column coming down the pipe titled, "An Age of Accountability: Are Americans paying for past permissive practices?" I think it's a subject that we all need to examine and consider. When trying to understand what has happened to our nearly rudderless society, we need to go to the root of the problem. Some people may disagree on one single thing that has got us in our moral wasteland, but others are starting to say it may have started at home as we were growing up.

  How did we swap our morality for money? Big corporations certainly led the way, but what led to the rise and power of these giant corporations? It's something to think about this Wednesday morning.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Are you physically challenged and could use some help? Get a service aardvark

While watching a seeing-eye horse with it’s legally blind rider shopping in a grocery store on CNN the other day I had an epiphany.

Seeing-eye, or service animals, have expanded from dogs, monkeys, and cats, to just about any animal a disabled person feels comfortable with.

I think that’s really cool. Why put limits on what kind of helper a person needs?

I’ve been thinking about getting a part-time service aardvark to eliminate those tiny black ants that show up around the house in Spring. Are you afraid of snakes? Then I suggest a service mongoose. They like to tangle with snakes and you can give them clever names like, Ricki Ticky Taffy.

Physically challenged plumbers could get service anacondas who could clean out clogged drains (no more need for hand-held devices) without the use of toxic chemicals. There’s a lot of people who suffer from short term memory loss that could use service elephants trained to read sign language and to remember whatever is important to the mentally challenged person. They are more expensive than a recording device, but they make a hell of a lot better companion.

Service squirrels could be trained to find acorns and nuts to bring to their new master, who could store them for a rainy day. Speaking of rainy days, service ducks could run your small errands during rainy weather, and in hard times, are tasty if cooked right!
For those disabled people who live near swamps, I would recommend a service alligator to navigate their boat through the murky waters. Beavers can be the perfect service animal, if you have a wood-burning stove and need a constant supply of wood.

To reach those high places in your home and the store, there’s a service giraffe out there for you somewhere. Are you having trouble making your way through large crowds because of limited sight? Then you need a service rhinoceros (who can’t see any better than you) but who easily carves a path through a large crowd.

Just think what a great service animal a parrot would be. I just read a story about a parrot who saved a little girl’s life, by squawking up a storm and alerting her mother who preformed the Heimlich maneuver on the choking child. It’s easy to see that a service parrot could save your life, and also keep you entertained by repeating words you teach it.

Do you have a phobia about insects because you can barely see them, but you know it when they crawl across your toe? A hedgehog could be of service to you, as they enjoy eating just about any kind of insect that you may have in your house. The only thing is, you have to be real careful when you pet them!

As It Stands, there’s a special animal out there just for you, if you need a little help nowadays.

aardvark photo via Google images      

Willie the Parrot is honored for saving a little girl's life!

Here's a good one from the Associated Press this morning....

A parrot whose cries of alarm alerted his owner when a little girl choked on her breakfast has been honored as a hero.

Willie, a Quaker parrot, has been given the local Red Cross chapter's Animal Lifesaver Award.

In November, Willie's owner, Megan Howard, was baby-sitting for a toddler. Howard left the room and the little girl, Hannah, started to choke on her breakfast.

Willie repeatedly yelled "Mama, baby" and flapped his wings, and Howard returned in time to find the girl already turning blue.

Howard saved Hannah by performing the Heimlich maneuver but said Willie "is the real hero."

Google image

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ft. Leonard Wood in 1969: a viewer from my old AIT in Missouri checks in today and I get all nostalgic...

  I was checking out where readers were coming from this morning when I ran across one from Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri who read my post "Liars! Liars! Liars! Sen. Chris Dodd caught lying about AIG bonus backing." Memories came back like ghosts in the night, as I recalled my past association with this old Army fort. Don't get me wrong. Those days don't bring a lot of smiles. I hated the place and thought it's nickname "Fort Lost In The Woods" was appropriate.    


  I did my Army Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. The photos are via  (also thanks to Veterans of Military Service at )

I'd like to point out that this link is about someone (the only name I could find was Gschwertly which I presume is his last name) who was also in Ft. Leonard Wood while I was there in 1969. He was in a different company, and had a different MOS. But, when I read his piece about revisiting that fort and his memories there, it shook some cobwebs loose and I reluctantly went down memory lane too.

As you can see there wasn't much privacy in those days(left). The building on the right is a mess hall.

Our wooden barracks were also leftovers from WW II. They were heated with wood-burning stoves, and being on "Fire Watch" was a serious duty then. I was in Bravo Company, 31 AIT. I went to a two-week leadership course prior to joining B Company (some DI thought I looked big enough at six-foot-two, 200 pounds, to lead the training cycle). The only reason I did it was the promise of eating with the NCO's (food meant a lot to me as I was a growing boy) who got the best food. I wore a blue pull-over arm patch with a Star and Master Sgt.'s rank on it, and was expected to call the company to attention from everything from morning roll call, to the time they were dismissed for the day.

I had to lead the company marching, running, and everything else that was done. My sense of cadence was lousy and pretty soon our training NCO pulled out one of the trainees with a big mouth (and sense of rhythm), and let him call out the cadence. It worked for me because by then I was reduced to croaking.

My worst memories were those days we tromped through the snow in the Big Piney Woods on training exercises, like reading maps and using a compass. We had to slog through the frozen land at night while learning how to read the stars to navigate.

Perhaps the greatest irony (at least to me) was all of this training in the snow when I would be going to a tropical land. Most of us knew we were "Nam bait." During my basic at Ft. Ord, California, I training with the M-14 rifle. By the time I went to AIT all combat troops had to qualify with an M-16. Memories of shooting from the prone, and sitting position, in a pile of frozen snow while trying to pick out white camouflaged targets, leave me cold today!

I went from the snow into the frying pan, to the place our DI's called "The Nam" in 1970. I was a Combat Engineer (31st Eng.Bn) and spent most of my time there sweeping for mines on lonely roads wondering how I could have thought my training was so hard. I would have gladly gone back and tromped through that snow again, if it were possible. But, as usual, reality trumped my dreams.

As It Stands, this little trip down memory lane was good for me, because I realize how lucky I am to be here now.

March Madness: Let's just pay the players and declare college sports a business that can pay taxes, like other corporate businesses in America!

    I was in the March Madness mood until two things happened; UCLA (my favorite college basketball team) got clobbered Saturday in the tournament, and LA Times columnist, Kurt Streeter’s recent assertion that college basketball is a charade “steeped in double-talk about amateurism and academics.”
     Streeter feels the players are pawns in the NCAA system. He reminds us that it’s the school and the coaches who are really cashing in on “amateur sports.” In fact, he comes right out and calls the whole athletic system in colleges a business.
      According to Streeter, the NCAA will get about $6 billion from CBS for the current TV deal, which ends in 2013. If you throw in corporate sponsorships, it gets harder to pass the smell test. How is it that a non-profit, tax-exempt entity claiming “educational mission” makes millions for coaches and the school?
      If the players are pawns in this money-making, tax-dodging scheme, perhaps they should be let in on the gravy train. Oh yeah. There’s that sticky amateur thing. Apparently it only applies to students who have no part in the money-making process, other than to perform like trained chimps under their ringmaster, aka coach.
       Let’s face it. This whole sham is a circus on tour. What some people may not realize is that the players may be pawns in this stinking system, but they have pride in their performance when they go out to play. They’re young men, full of testosterone, and always sure to give their best efforts.
       What a deal for the schools and the coaches. Nothing like a real show of passion to pump TV ratings. Meanwhile, most of these hard-working athletes don’t even graduate.
       That’s a fact that Richard Lapchick, director of University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, confirmed to the press when he admitted “we still have a ways to go,” regarding student-athletes graduation rates.
       Perhaps the most ironic part of Streeter’s column was the part about honest student-athletes having to lean on their families for help. This suggestion that there are some athletes who are not honest, is troubling. I think we all have seen examples of exceptional student-athletes that got a lot of expensive goodies, or “jobs” that involved doing nothing.
        Do you remember Chris Webber? I’m probably dating myself here. He’s one of the poster pro basketball players that was pampered by a college system that demanded wins in order to get better TV ratings.
         My point, after all of this rambling, is why not pay all the players up front and take another look at college’s tax exempt status? Make them pay taxes on this unethically earned money in the name of amateurism. Open capitalism is surely more ethical than “behind the door profits” earned while masquerading as a non-profit educational institute!
         As It Stands, in a time when transparency is called for from corporate America, we need to put colleges on that list.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday, March 22: As It Stands shares some interesting results on who Americans respect and who they loath!

   There were some surprises as I read over the results of the latest Gallup Poll on Most and Least respected professions in America today. I think you'll find the results interesting, at the very least. Click here to read As It Stands in today's Times-Standard.

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Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...