Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ugandan Rodger Update

You all may remember the sleazy come-on last semester of one Ugandan Rodger (check posts from November for the story). It took place in the Austin library where he not so subtly suggested that we should "you know." Sadly, Ugandan Rodger does not belong to Austin, he belongs to NOLA and so we have both returned to this post-apocalypse land.

Until now I have managed to ignore him or at least not make eye contact (I don't want to give him any "ideas"). But today I came around the corner heading to the student lounge to buy some water and he came out of the door, and it was too late. There was nowhere to hide. I pretended to be very interested in signs on the wall as I walk forward but then he says "Oooohhh, I thought I left you in Austin!"

Ha ha. I smile in a malvelolent-I-wish-I-could-puke-on-you way and say "No." If only I had been so lucky. What I wish I had said is "It's never going to happen. Not ever. Never, ever, never."

But Ugandan Rodger is not smart and I'm sure he would press his luck and say something assinine like "Even if we were the last people on Earth?"

No, Ugandan Rodger, not even then. Because less people on Earth would not make you less creepy.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Saga of the Glass

Today Tiny and EZ were mightily beat down by their exam. We all love the professor who teaches their class, but EZ described the exam experienced as being akin to "being molested by your favorite uncle." I have this same professor for another class, so needless to say I am scared.

In their respective, devastated states it was decided that mediocre mexican food con alcohol was required. After waiting to be seated and waiting an interminable time to order, EZ is at long last presented with his Negra Modelo. The waitress sets down the beer and then begins to retract from the table having brought nothing else but the bottle with its jaunty lime hat. Though his back was to the waitress, I have no doubt she could feel the sheer power of EZ's sneer.

I could just see EZ's internal monologue: "Do I look like a man who would drink beer from a bottle?! I realize that this is beer, but it's at least Negra Modelo, and not Bud or Coors or even Pabst Blue Ribbon. For the love of God, this needs a glass!"

When the waitress returned an eon later with my and Tiny's drinks, EZ asked for a glass with as little distain as he could muster. Her internal monologue must have been: "Oh, he's one of those who requires a glass." And she scurried away.

In all fairness to EZ, the service industry in NOLA is seriously lacking. One can order San Pellegrino or other mineral water and the waitperson will invariably bring a table-sized bottle, sans glass. It's like they expect you to drink from the enormous bottle like you're a hillbilly swigging from a jug with three "X's" on it.

About this time we overhear the table next to us discussing "The Chronicles of Narnia" in which one Gucci wearing lady says to the other that "Peter was Jesus, and Aslan (the lion) was God." This causes EZ to pause holding his fork midway to his mouth in absolute disbelief. Ok, true that is appalling. As I'm sure you well know, "The Chronicles of Narnia" is pretty much the most transparently symbolic story in Christianity. The lion, who is betrayed and dies for the bad deeds of another, is killed by the evil witch and then resurrected. Ummmm, sound familiar? It's a good thing these ladies weren't faced with Plato's Allegory of the Cave.

At some point the waitress returned to refill the less than mediocre chips and notified EZ that his glass "was being chilled." At this point, EZ just wanted a glass and didn't give a damn if it was chilled or not. The waitress launches into some explanation about how she has asked the bartender to chill a glass, which involves a process of rinsing the glass with "cold water...because it's just not the same as ice, you know?" What the hell? EZ does not complain because now that he's in this far he can't merely demand the glass. It's either no glass or chilled glass. There is no middle ground.

This saga causes EZ to sulkily slouch down in his chair and chomp on his chips with malevolent indifference. I tell him that he reminds me of a Roman emporer, eating while reclined, and is displeased. EZ decides that being a Roman emporer would be a pretty sweet deal, because dammit, he would get his glass. And also have attractive servants to feed him.

At this point the waitress returns and says "Where is he? The one who wanted the glass?" Now mind you, EZ is sitting in the exact same spot he has always been in, with his back to her. This apparently made him invisible. I gesture towards EZ and then she somehow sees him and says "Ah, here's your glass."

She sets down the "chilled" glass. Which has not been popped in a freezer, but from its dripping wet condition it's clear that the bartender filled it with icewater which was then dumped out and brought to him -- which I believe is the process the waitress claimed they would *not* be using to chill the glass.

"Happy now?" I asked him thoroughly amused. EZ starts muttering angrily in French, no doubt about how Americans lack good table etiquette, and are gauche blah blah blah -- and hey, now that I think about it, it is kind of ironic that we live in the land so heavily influenced by France (i.e. NOLA) and that they have so thoroughly failed to transpose France's love of table settings and proper etiquette.

What's even better is that EZ is not actually French. He's an Oakie with a love of France, which makes the snobbery even more hillarious.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Tiny is Secretly, Deliciously Evil

Exam time means studying, and studying means study breaks. This is of course self evident.

Today I took a coffee break with mis amigos as the afternoon wore on. For some reason we started talking about trash which inevitably led to Candy Girl noting the critters attracted to said trash. In Louisiana, they are many and plentiful, my "favorite" being rats and giant cockroaches.

We discuss which creatures we like the least: personally, I'll take rats over cockroaches, because I can shoot a rat (not that I really would, but conceptually speaking). It's the tininess of the roach that makes it so insidious in my mind. EZ said he prefers the roach because it can be stepped on. Tiny hates both, and to her hate list she also added squirrels.

Tiny developed her hatred for squirrels at college because the squirrels there were unafraid and were constantly underfoot and were a hazard for bikers. Then Tiny starts laughing uncontrollably and tries to tell us the story of this squirrel that got hit by a bike and its tail got amputated.

What was killing Tiny is that the tail lay in the street for several days and the now-tailless squirrel kept coming back to look at it. Poor little squirrel, coming back to mourn the loss of its tail. I feel kind of bad for the squirrel.

Then again, if I think of it as a furrier rat, I really don't feel bad at all.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Elegy for Aunt June

My childhood is punctuated with the regularity of memories of Aunt June.

We have spent every Christmas Eve at June and Bill's house. They were not our blood relations, but we called them "aunt" and "uncle" in that fine southern tradition of extending one's family, especially since Bill and June had no children of their own and we had no living grandparents.

I remember Aunt June making non-alcoholic egg nog for my sister and I when we were children, then she'd added brandy when we were old enough. She would make my father's favorite fudge, and olive rolls that my mother adored. And this was our ritual.

I saw Aunt June this Christmas too. She was weak from the chemo followed by steriods and she could only pretend to know who we were.

My mother took her twice a week to get her hair washed at the salon.
My sister, who just came home from England for her Easter break, spent one of her mornings going over to help change Aunt June's diaper because Bill was too frail to do it on it his own.

It was too close to finals for me to go home; my sister and I could only talk on the phone.

Yesterday when she died it was Bill and June's 43rd wedding anniversary. My mother tried to get him to go out to dinner with her and my father, but Bill is an old cowboy and grief is private. He told my mother he'd just rather stay home and remember her. I have no choice but to do the same.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Art, Patriotism, and Other Highbrow Themes with Lowbrow Delivery

Today has been a day of discovery. Until today, I thought that no one could provide well crafted kitsch as well as the Franklin Mint. For those of you unfamiliar with the Franklin Mint, you often see its wares hawked on the back pages of Parade magazine (the magazine that comes free in your local paper), offering such items as an Arthurian chess set cast entirely in pewter. Or a Civil War chess set in hand painted pewter. Or a dragon chess set in pewter with real crystals. You get the idea.

Sadly, the Frankling Mint might be the most highbrow manufacturer of its niche market. For comparison, examine the wares of the Bradford Exchange. Good lord, a sculpture of an eagle with wolves painted inside its wings. Holy hell, that's just awful. And simultaneously highly patriotic. I also like that the everyone in the USMC mirror is caucasian. Yay whitey.

Why does patriotism have to come in such monstrous forms? What of the eloquence of the Lincoln Memorial or the JFK eternal flame? What of Arlington Cemetary, poingnant with its homogenous fields of white head stones? Or the neoclassical elegance of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?

Clearly these monuments need an eagle painting to, you know, kick it up a notch.

These sorts of "artwork" always bring to mind crap like that produced by Thomas Kinkade, who sells prints of his paintings for absurd amounts of money. I guess I'm not the only one to make this connection, because on the Bradford Exchange homepage you can also buy Thomas Kinkade wares. Yay! These guys really know their niche.

I really do have a bone to pick with Thomas Kinkade as I think he is bent on destroying the art world. He sells his prints for so much money because he has people brush some clear gel on them and they are now "originals."
I think it's insulting to call images mass-printed onto factory made canvases "art." He also supposedly signs his true originals with his blood -which is just plain creepy. Even better, this "devout Christian's" company has been found to have defrauded his "gallery" owners.

Kinkade alone is not to blame for the decline of good taste. The other Horsemen of the Apocalypse include Amanda Dunbar who leaves post it notes for angels, Hummel figurines, Lladró, Precious Moments, and anything else marketed through Hallmark or on QVC.

The consumers of these horrible, wretched items are no doubt the same ones who oppose NEA grants and get incensed about works like Andres Serrano's Piss Christ, which I think is probably one of the single most misunderstood art works of the 20th century. If you look at the photograph, it's really quite beautiful and moving (as evidenced by this poem written about it). But since it's complicated and it involves bodily fluids, apparently it cannot be worthy of meaning. But an eagle sculpture with wolves painted on its wings is. And all the easier to commodify.

Damn it, it's time the esthetes stop apologizing for good taste! We should continue to push the boundaries, instead of airbrushing an American flag on everything and calling it a day. The pursuit of real beauty is often difficult and ugly, and it is that struggle that makes it worthy to pass on to the next generation - it should be hard fought and won.

Real faith should be challeneged and inspired, not pandered to. If I'm given the choice between Thomas Kinkade's brand of Christianity and Serrano's, I'll take Piss Christ, thank you very much.

Most importantly, if you look at art as a reflection of cultural history, any civilization that exhibits a decline in its arts is in a state of general decline. For no other reason then, we should cling to our arts as if they were the caged canary we take down into the mine.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Ah, my non-lawschool readers, allow me to introduce to you the gunner. A gunner is a sub-species of human, known for florid language, pompous carriage, and an unparalleled eagerness to volunteer in class in an effort to "share his thoughts." The gunner is also characterized by a naïve belief that he/she is original. It is best not to confront the gunner on this idea as he/she may become violent.

Today my morning class was thoroughly infested with this noxious creature. Not only did members of the species constantly congratulate one another on their brilliant thoughts, one student even congratulated the professor on his "nice" arguments. The professor, a brilliant, kindly, and humble man, seemed amused and "thanked" the student for his approval. I was choking back my laughter.

Fortunately, I didn't get a chance to read the following email sent to me
around this time from M. Babe, who is also in the class. EZ got the same email, and I heard him snort. I know if I had read it, it would have been all over.
From: M. Babe
Sent: Tue 4/18/2006 10:30 AM
To: Laaw-yuhr, EZ
Subject: add another notch to the gunner vernacular belt

"My concern is . . ." has been officially added to the Gunner's Guide to Pompous Introductions to Brilliant In-Class Commentary: A User's Guide to Taking Text Notes* and Disguising Them as Your Own Novel Ideas.

Peruse the Guide to find familiar favorites, such as:
"My discomfort lies in . . ."
"I'm trying to reconcile . . . "
"Harkening back . . . "

and anything involving the word "tautology" or any derivative thereof.
And subject to contextual interpretation:

"Essentially, what the Court is saying . . . " (which can also be used by non-gunners in an attempt to buy time when called on in class).
Honestly, the people really talk like this. And they sound ridiculous. I'm all for saying what you have to say with confidence, but I think students should remember they are still in fact students and should couch their thoughts in slightly more respectful, deferential language.

Or if you're me, you just shut up altogether not caring if people think you're stupid. Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

*For non-lawyers, text notes are small articles following a case in the text book. These notes generally consist of excerpts from law review articles (written by law professors) presenting different interpretations of important cases and/or rounding out the law in the area with a short survey of other related cases.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


The other night was my journal dinner, which meant I had to wear a fancy dress and go traipsing through the French Quarter. Normally, I don't mind wandering through the quarter, but I DO mind doing it in high heels as I invariably ruin my shoes. This is because there is always gross standing water, holes in the cobblestones so your heel gets stuck, tricky sewer grates, drunks to step on you, etc. Boys, you don't know how good you have it.

And gentlemen, before you say something stupid like "You don't have to wear heels," let me pre-empt you: yes I do. Ok, a person just looks completely stupid in a cocktail dress and flats. Flats are casual, and even dressy flats are casual. It's just not socially appropriate to wear them with a fancy dress, so shut it. And before you can say something like "Don't follow the crowd," I have a whole bag of "shhh" for you. Welcome to adult land where we have to do things we don't particularly want to do.

This evening I thought I was ahead of the game because the hotel where our dinner was held said on its website that they had valet. Hooray for valet!

Except there was no valet. So that meant walking through the Quarter in heels.
Damn damn damn. As we're walking along these guys shout to me and my friends, "Ladies, ladies, you all look so nice." Then to me in particular our holla-er said "Hey, you, you there in the red, girl you QUALIFY."

And then I promptly stepped in a hole. Shit.

I have no idea what "qualify" means, but it's pretty much the best holla I've ever gotten. The down side was that I couldn't just classily take this in stride because I had to stop and extract my shoe from the hole and re-situate it on my foot, at which point EZ doubled back to check on me and noted that our holla-ers were "staring at [my] ass, so let's just move along now before they decided to do something else..."

Whatever, I qualify.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

An Open Letter to the Music Industry

Is it just me, or has new music just been terrible lately? I mean, I think we've been in a musical slump for quite a while now, and I would declare music officially dead if not for sneak attack of British imports or for little known American bands like My Morning Jacket. But MTV, you are dead to me.

Case in point, the new Beyonce song, "Check On It." Holy hell, not only are the lyrics just gross, but there are litterally JUST FOUR NOTES IN THE SONG.

I have an ex who used to make fun of four chord bands, but at least there are generally 3 notes in a chord making a grand total of 12 notes in the song. And that is significantly more than 4 notes. Seriously, try to "sing" this wretched song. 80% of the song, i.e. the chorus, is sung on just ONE note. The other three notes are used sparingly, like they're spicy seasoning. There's probably some music exec out there who's like "hey hey hey, don't put any more notes in that song, that just confuses the kids and makes it harder to market."

I think the other worst song in the universe right now is the L.L. Cool J. / J-Lo abomination "Control Myself". While there are significantly more notes in this song, the rap portions sound like L.L. ripped off Tone Loc in his Funky Cole Medina/Wild Thing era.

The best part of this song? At one point "they break it down" by singing "ZZZZZZZZZZZ". I shit you not. If you want to skip the rest of the abomination and hear that part, go to 3:09 into the song.

Dude, a bee could do that.

I think that if a bee can do your job, it may be time to re-prioritize. Honestly, the musical bar has officially been set so low that you can pretty much just step over it at this point.

I'm quittin' law school and gettin' the band back together.

Monday, April 10, 2006

That's Right, I Eat Water On My Cereal

Ok, look, I can only have so much dairy.

When I was little I was totally allergic to milk and had to take dairy supplements until the doctor made me get weaned back onto milk. I remember this only vaguely. I do remember complaining that I wanted to eat cereal and he told me to eat it with orange juice. Now that, I assure you, is freaking disgusting. What this ended up meaning is that I did not eat much cereal as a kid.

As an adult, I have rediscovered my love of cereal, but I must still moderate dairy. So do I have the milk in my coffee or on my cereal? I prefer it in my coffee. Which means that I had to come up with some sort of substitute. Orange juice is clearly out, and soy milk is kind of like drinking silt. So what's wrong with water? I mean, I eat either Special K Red Berry or Frosted mini-wheats and you put cold water on it and it's almost as good as milk. Notice, I say *almost*.

So somehow this came up in conversation the other day and by people's reactions you would have thought I told them that I have a vestigal tail. Ok, bad example, as I do have two webbed toes. Let me try again: based on the horrified reaction of my friends, you would have thought I told them I like to eat the ground up bones of my enemies on my cereal.

Look people, I eat water on my cereal. I do it proud too. Love me, and love my webbed toes and my water-on-my-cereal-eatin' ways.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

If I Were A Bear, I'd Eat You.

For the love of god, those tailored, salmon colored man-shorts are atrocious. Like a bad penny, these shorts keep turning up all over campus.

To the boys sporting this look allow me to address you: yes, I realize you are a frat-tard. The white frat hat is the Herm
ès bag of your world, and your greatest realization is that beer isn't just for breakfast anymore.

And yet, I assure you, you look like a fool.

Honestly, it looks as though your salmon colored pants were involved in a tragic, tailoring accident. "My God, the fabric...we'll have to amputate!"

These shorts remind me of an incident at a club where we could not get in because one member of our party, who was Polish, had not worn his "long sleeve pants." Long sleeve pants indeed.

As a strategic decision, shorts on adult men are always a questionable choice if you're not playing sports or engaged in some other erstwhile athletic activity. If you're legs are too skinny, you'll look like you're 12. Even if you look good in shorts, you should not wear them, say, oh to the country club. Or to a wedding. It may be hot, but that's why fashion scientists invented cotton, linen, and seersucker (but only in gray, not striped blue unless your 12 and under, or alternately 75 and older).

And why this move to dress like you live in retirement village? You're not 60, frat-tard. Sure, one day you'll sit around the country club drinking mai tais, careening around the village in your golf cart, and just generally farting around on the golf course pretending to play but really just getting out of the house so you don't have to deal with your wife yammering about planting the annuals. But that time has not yet come. These are your best years -do you really wish to squander them in salmon-colored shorts?

I promise you, these shorts are the harvest gold and avocado appliances of the fashion world! Just because the Brooks Brothers model is wearing them doesn't mean you should. Just look at that guy in the picture - you could tar and feather him and he would still be attractive. And yet, if he asked me out I would hesitate; do I really want to go to dinner with a man in salmon-colored shorts? I would always be wondering what happened to the rest of his pants.

I saw one boy on campus sporting this look and I voiced my disgust and confusion to EZ about the proliferation of these shorts. EZ looked at the boy I mention and said that he felt that his shorts fell into more of the "coral" range rather than the "salmon". Pft. He was missing the point entirely. They were first and foremost, ugly. Second, they were unqestionably salmon colored. Such that, if I were a bear, I would have eaten him.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Thai Food Strikes Back

Dinner last night was wonderful. I and 3 of my friends ate at our favorite thai place in the marigney. It's not only our favorite, it's the only decent remaining thai place not formerly under several feet of water.

And though red curry, you were deliscious, you have revisted me angrily in the form of an upset stomach. I was dressed, I had read my homework and was preparing to head to class, but alas, stomach you and you alone betrayed me.

Now I lay on my bed in pain. On the upside, a rerun of the West Wing is on TV. God knows I am unable to watch the West Wing without getting all weepy. Seriously, when that opening music begins I am practically in tears. Then there will come that part of the show when the President or Toby or Leo or Josh will give some inspiring speech about America and how we should "do the right thing," and I'll start crying like a baby.

Contrast that with the speech our current president gave at my college graduation where he told us his favorite drink to get on Greenville Ave (the bar strip). It's called "the fishbowl" and it is literally a fishbowl full of alcohol. I think there might be gummy fish in it as well. Never mind the inappropriateness of a former alcoholic telling you about his favorite drink at a college graduation. On the inspiration scale I give that a 0 out of 10.