Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The young professionals showed up

But there wasn't really enough time to socialize at last night's Northwest Louisiana Young Professionals get together last night with Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover and City Councilmen Calvin Lester and Bryan Wooley. I have to say I was impressed with the turnout of about 60. Most were looking pretty young and professional, and the view and food at Petroleum Club (we were on the 15th floor at Mid South Towers) is almost never bad. I was particularly digging these fried mushrooms they had.

I admit I was about 10 minutes late -- the event started at 6 p.m. -- but the panel was going by 6:20, and when they were done at 7:30 everyone sort of got up and walked out! Some chatted with the speakers, but I expected more inter-young-pro talking.

So here's a photo to prove a few of us bloggers went. Maybe we'll get to hang out with a few other hip young people at the next meeting.

(Yeah, here we are. And I look like a dork with my nametag still on. The others took theirs off... and forget to tell me to, I guess. Thanks to Amanda -- a young professional -- for taking the photo.)

Monday, January 29, 2007

And they say we're the ignorant ones

It's been pretty obvious for the past year and a half how the rest of the country felt about Hurricane Katrina. The lack of response in the days following the levee breach spoke for itself, and the failure of anyone outside the state to make any real effort to help with the rebuilding of the city shows plain and clear that it's just not a priority.

My aunt, who lives in Arizona, even told my mom, "I don't know what the big deal is. Katrina didn't even hit New Orleans." What?

But nothing so perfectly captured this hateful attitude as a photograph taken at the NFC Championship game between the New Orleans Saints and the Chicago Bears. The photo, which has been all over the news and Internet for the past week, shows a man holding a sign that reads, "Bears: Finishing what Katrina started."

It blows my mind how hateful people can be. You'd think anyone would be able to comprehend a natural disaster of such proportions. We've all seen the photos of people stuck on their roofs, crammed into shelters, homeless, and hopeless. So many lost their homes, their families, their lives. A city and a people are still suffering and will never be the same. But some idiot has a sign that trivializes it all.

One person from Louisiana compared it to if someone at a New York Jets or Giants game had in 2002 held up a sign that read "Finishing what the terrorists started." It's a harsh comparison. And nobody would have been so insensitive to say such a thing. But they did about Katrina, and the tastelessness and the inhumanity is the same.

The New Orleans Saints this season brought a much-needed ray of sunshine to the city. After a year of disappointment and inaction, their football team gave them something to have faith in, something to hope for. The Saints brought out the best in their fans. Unfortunately, it brought out the worst in others.

The country likes to make a joke of Louisiana and write us off as uneducated and therefore worthless. But if this doesn't show that ignorance also lives above the Mason-Dixon Line, I don't know what does.

Young, single and mobile

One of the perks of being young and single is the ability to pick up and move whenever and wherever, right?

I'm not so sure about that. In the last year about half a dozen close friends -- the girls I ate lunch with, the couples I called on Friday to see what the weekend plans are -- have done just that. This weekend I said see ya to one of my best friends in town, who is headed to DC. And, quite frankly, while I'm really good at packing up and leaving (I might have left myself if it weren't for a certain guy), I don't handle being left behind very well.

Granted, part of this is my own fault for having lots of friends in the military - they're going to leave. Others have gone on to pursue bigger and better opportunities, and I'm happy that they're all doing well. Thanks to e-mail and free long distance cell phone plans, we've done a decent job of staying in touch. But it doesn't replace girls' nights with a bottle of wine or meeting after church for lunch.

All this moving makes me wonder about the idea of community in our generation. Are we just better at connecting with people and adapting to new situations? Or has the Internet really replaced those sort of geographic parameters that "community" once implied? And are these changes a good thing?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

What would you do when face to face with the famous?

I've been here for about six months now and just had my first celebrity sighting.

Let me first say, I'm a HUGE fan of Comedy Central's Daily Show. It's hilarious. Between Stephen Colbert (before The Colbert Report), Steve Carell (before The Office) and the host John Stewart, there's never a dull moment.

Friday I was out at Stray Cat in downtown Shreveport when I noticed a little bald man that looked so familiar but I just couldn't put my finger on his name. It only took a second before I leaned over to Adam and whispered, "Is that Rob Corddry?"

I realize that most people don't know who he is, but I loved him on The Daily Show. My favorite was his piece on high gas prices and SUV's where he was driving around in a stretch Hummer that he would need to fill with gas as soon as he pulled away from the pump.

Anyway, I kept pestering everyone I was with, saying I wanted to speak but was a little scared. Finally, he left his table (where he was sitting with the Harold dude from Harold and Kumar) to go to the bathroom and I decided I'd catch him when he was away from everybody. (I feel crazy just typing this.)

When he came out I just said hi and he stopped, smiled and spoke.

I then started babbling like an idiot about how I love the Daily Show, how I loved him on the Daily Show and how I didn't mean to bother him but thought I'd be mad later if I didn't speak.

He was very nice through the whole thing, shook my hand and thanked me for speaking to him. He really seemed sincere about it too. I told him to have fun and off he went.

That little encounter made my week.

A friend and I always talk about how we'd act if we met someone famous. We'd like to think we wouldn't act like dorks, instead come off cool, calm and collected.

I think it's safe to say I was none of those things Friday night.

But to re-post Heidi's call - what are some of your Shreveport celebrity sighting moments...and how did you handle it?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Surely any hip person has already seen this

But in case you haven't, the New Orleans Jazz Fest line up is out. Well, sort of. They always just put a really difficult-to-read smattering up on the Web site. Lists are a lot easier to read than paragraphs. (Yet I'm writing a paragraph -- but you know what I mean.)

Anyhow, they'll post a more specific schedule as time for the festival gets closer. I for one will be there for at least one weekend.

That's Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz to the right. And, yes, the band will be there. Mr. Duritz and the guys put on a great show there in 2004, when I saw them.

See you there?

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Gramblinite needs help

So after being suspended for about a day, now The Gramblinite-the student newspaper at Grambling University, pledges to use the Associated Press Stylebook (a journalist's bible) and is committing to reducing errors in content and grammar.

The student newspaper's advisor, Wanda Peters, is now willing to check each story for errors and style. And now, a copy editing course will be offered in the fall and teachers of journalism now pledge to actually teach news writing and AP style in their classes.

Wow. It only took being suspended for them to want to be better.

My only question is this: What in God's name was the university and student newspaper staff doing before this provost-imposed suspension?

When I first heard the news of the paper's suspension I was completely outraged. I was prepared to go to Monroe to fight for first amendment rights. I wanted my co-workers to join me. I wanted the students to be heard. I wanted to fight for our endless cause.

But when I went back and re-read the initial story, I understood why the university's provost took such drastic action. He cites issues of plagiarism and content errors since his 2004 arrival. Plagiarism since 2004? What took him so long to step in and realize the students weren't learning what they needed to in order to produce a paper? Nearly three years is a long time to deal with errors on that level.

I think its safe to say Provost Robert Dixon was embarrassed by the student paper and not because they may publish stories that are critical of the university but because the paper was proof that students weren't learning the proper skills necessary to become good journalists. The paper was a reminder that professors and student editors weren't doing their jobs correctly.

Although I still don't think Dixon should have suspended the paper--even if it was only for a day--he had the best intentions. No paper at a public university (or a private one but they have different rules) should be suspended based on content and no student paper should be forced by the university to allow prior review of its contents. But, the Gramblinite needs to do better.

My co-workers and I are still going to Grambling sometime soon to see what we can do to help.

I hope they get better since they now has an improvement plan in place.

But, dang...what took them so long?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Maybe it's just me

While covering a local basketball game Wednesday night, something struck me as a bit odd.

It wasn't the game itself. It wasn't even the work part. It was looking around and seeing so many faces in the stands that I have known for the better part of my life. I spent most of halftime talking to those people and it triggered a thought about alt/Texas country group Cross Canadian Ragweed's song "Seventeen."

In the song, the chrous' main line is "You're always 17 in your hometown." Strange that it would hit me at a basketball game, but still it did.

I know Stephanie, Diane, Donecia and Adam are all from around here, but am I the only Shreveport-Bossier City area native here at The Times that runs into these meetings while on assignment?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It's not just the chimps having unexplainable offspring...

Apparently a British zoo is celebrating what scientists are calling a virgin birth! Instead of a primate, this time it was a Komodo dragon. Zookeepers say the mother was never exposed to any male counterparts.

Weird. First it's good ole Teresa delivering little Tracy down at our very own Chimp Haven. And now there are little fatherless (literally) dragons running around their cage in northern England.

Crazy. Thanks to Anubhav Tagore, a copy editor here at The Times, for passing along the birth announcement.

Respect goes both ways

It's been so cool having all these movies made in the area, and I enjoy hearing people's celebrity sighting stories. That may be because I don't have a good one. I've only had one "celebrity" sighting, and that was when Chris Kataan yelled at me in a bar because he thought I was trying to take his picture with my cell phone. Sorry, Mango; I was actually just trying to make a call.

It's good that Shreveport has opened its arms to so many celebrities, and I'm happy to hear that the locals are relatively sane when they encounter a movie star. These actors and actresses are people too, and they deserve and demand respect.

But that respect should go both ways. Just because I un-flip my phone in your general vicinity does not mean I'm looking to invade your privacy and sell your photo to tmz.com.

I think it's a fair trade. If we let celebrities get through a meal without requests for autographs and photos, they'll give us the benefit of the doubt as we go about our business. And in the meantime, we can all continue to share our celebrity sighting stories -- good and bad!

Whatcha thinking?

So who watched the State of the Union speech last night and what did you think?
Of course, we don't normally talk politics here, but I think this is definitely a subject broad enough for everyone to be able to share their thoughts on the matter (Who says younguns don't have opinions?)

In case you missed it, check our site or watch the video. (Just look under the Bush category and click on '2007' link.)
More of my own thoughts to come later ...
*Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Didn't Donecia forget a Best Picture nominee?

Sorry, but the only contender for that category that I've even seen is "Little Miss Sunshine," and I loved that one. I think Donecia just forgot to list it. Seriously, I have to make sure I've added it as one of my favorites on facebook and myspace.

I would say the movie would definitely fall into the dark comedy genre. But that's just because of how realistic it is -- at least emotionally. Some of the action is a little far-fetched. But if you're looking for a real look at family stress and strength, check it out. I hope it wins in this year, the Academy's 79th year to bestow them.

And the nominees are...

So, “Dreamgirls” was good enough to pick up the most Oscar nods this year, but not necessarily good enough to be a contender for Best Picture.
I don’t think I’m really surprised or disappointed about that one – Especially considering I STILL hadn’t seen the movie yet. (I know, I know - What in the world am I waiting on?)
But it also leaves “Babel,” “The Departed,” “Letters From Iwo Jima,” and “The Queen” to duke it out. (Has anyone seen any of these movies, by the way? If so, share your thoughts on them.)
But that’s not the only interesting twist in this season of Oscar.
If you haven’t heard the buzz yet, check out this story, which gives some other pretty interesting observations about this year’s nominees, though I’m not sure any of it can top the shocking images of last year’s surprise winners, Three 6 Mafia, performing their Oscar-winning hit “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” (I’m still scratching my head on that one…) Anyway, don’t forget to tune in to the 79th Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 25.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Battle of the Sexes, Part 1

So some of us female co-workers were having a discussion tonight. We were talking about, of course, the problem with you guys out there.
Now, don't get it twisted. This wasn't some male-bashing session or anything even close to that.
I mean, we only said that men are just stupid, plain and simple.
Just kidding. We weren't that harsh.
We did conclude though, that on average, men just truly do mature slower than women which is clearly evident by the decisions they make in their relationships with women. Plain and simple.
"Even when you're just hanging out and having fun, with no pressure or anything, they STILL get scared!" one co-worker said. And, of course, we ALL gave a hearty amen to that.
Personally, I've always felt like we women are way more in touch emotionally than men are, which is why we're much better communicators. Of course, I've heard many male friends say that the mere fact that they're not as emotionally attached allows them to have a clearer, more logical mindset when it comes to the life choices and decisions they make.
So, is it fair to say that women are more emotionally in-tuned than men and does it make us the better, more mature sex? If men are less emotional than women by nature, does it make them the more mature sex?
Of course, this is an age-old debate and it's not like we're going to get any answers here. But I still wanna hear both sides weigh in, because... Well... It's fun. So let the games begin!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Will you take my Visa, or a couple of eggs, instead?

I love shopping. It’s my weakness.
And I know of quite a few other women, at LEAST three in Link222, (I’m not naming names…Ahem, Ashley, Stephanie, Janelle) who can relate even more so.

Unfortunately, my salary doesn’t equal or even come close to measuring up to my shopping fantasies, which is why, I’m all about a bargain these days.In fact, I’ve flat out banned myself from the mall and most clothing stores and tightly limit my visits to Target and Walmart, just to stay on the safe side.

BUT, ladies, consider this: What if you could use something like a barter system to get those high-priced designer jeans or that brand new Prada bag?
Like, instead of spending money you don’t have, or putting all those miles on your credit car,how about you just donate a couple of eggs?

No, I’m not talking about Grade A eggs, I’m talking about the ones in your body.

Sounds a little weird, right? Well, according to this story, it might be a reality pretty soon for willing British women, but not of course without much ethical debate.
No, they’re not offering them Gucci for eggs. It’s for a much more serious issue: To increase the number of human eggs used in stem cell research.

Surprisingly, as least to me, the story points out that this is already happening in America. In fact, American women have donated thousands of eggs for pay, some getting between $5,000 and $10,000!
But that’s what lies at the center of the ethical debate: Should we get paid for that?

I’m not even sure where I stand on this one. I mean, in one way, hey, getting paid is getting paid and that always sounds good to me.
But on the other hand, we’re not just talking about a rummage sale or giveaway of unwanted items, we’re talking about eggs – My eggs. Your eggs.
What do y’all think? Where do you stand?
Deal or no deal?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

We might see the sun tomorrow!

Seriously. Check the forecast and just feel the warmth. Below is what I hope will be a photo tribute to rays we've been waiting for all week.

(Photos are from The Times archives. Thanks to Robert Ruiz here in Shreveport for the sunning turtle and to the Associated Press for the other two glorious shots.)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sorry for another list

But some of that end-of-the-year stuff is still floating around. Well, this is really more than just a year, but it's in the same vein.

Here is a hilarious list from Blender called "The 50 Worst Things Ever to Happen to Music." I loved it. There are great explanations about braided goatees (No. 30), but then some on the list apparently need no introduction, such as Fred Durst (No. 17). The magazine folks hate on tribute albums, hip-hop moguls and Van Halen's hiring practices.

Reader's also have the option of telling Blender how much they suck. All-in-all a pretty good, if snobby, read.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I counted 10

So maybe this little bit of wintry weather wasn't quite as bad as expected, but all the talk of possibly icy roads made me think.

On any usual workday, I cross at least 10 pieces of elevated road on my usual route to the office. (That would be seven bridges and three overpasses.) Fortunately I didn't slip and slide across any today or yesterday, but knowing how many bayous, streams, lakes rivers, marshes and swamps we have to get over just to function should make us appreciate the infrastructure we have.

As much as I used to love to play Oregon Trail on those old Apple computers, I don't think I'd want to ford a river somewhere in northwest Louisiana -- much less the great American West -- just to drive to work.

FEMA vs. college students

I was reading the latest post on Diane’s new blog “Everyday Faith” about her recent trip to New Orleans and it brought back to mind a news story that’s been circulating today among my friends and myself via email.

The story reports that FEMA is demanding repayment from Dillard University students who received FEMA aid in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. As it turns out, FEMA says, they weren’t ineligible.

Now, naturally, because this is a news story involving my alma mater, I might be a little tender-hearted to the issue, but honestly this is a situation that I think anybody with a heart could feel sympathy for.

I mean, by all accounts, these students were not told that they were ineligible for the aid beforehand. They didn't cheat the system. They followed the proper procedures, filed their claims, were deemed eligible and received that aid.

It wasn’t until July, following an investigation, that FEMA realized they’d made a mistake and started sending out repayment letters basically telling the college students “Oops, our bad. Show me the money.”

Now is it me, or is that just below the belt? How cruel is it to expect college students to repay funds they received in a time of need because of a mistake that the agency made? One student lamented that they lost everything and that the FEMA money was all they had at that time.

I can’t fathom being in a jam like that during my ramen noodle college days…

Thoughts anyone?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Who'd've thought teachers made so much?

I found this interesting list of jobs ranked by pay. Teachers -- from elementary to college -- seem to be well paid. They must not have based this on what Caddo Parish teachers make.

And wow -- the median salary is $28, 770. That would probably put most of us young journalists barely above.

This list might make a good basis if you're thinking of a career change, though. Not that any of my editors should think I am.

I still have faith...


The Hollywood Foreign Press Association didn't let me down with this year's Golden Globe winners.

Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy both walked away with awards for their supporting roles in Dreamgirls. The movie also won Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy.

Golden Globe® Awards 2007 - © MMVII Hollywood Foreign Press Association®"© HFPA" and "64th Golden Globe® Awards;"

Beyonce Knowles was beat out by Meryl Streep in the Best Actress - Musical or Comedy category.
Grey's Anatomy, my Thursday night obsession, won Best Television Show - Drama. (I am kind of sad Meridith and Dr. McDreamy didn't take home the best actress/actor awards. But, I guess I can't have it all.)
So what do ya'll think? Was everyone that won deserving? Or was there someone you think was left out?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Dream forgotten? Make it real

Today was supposed to be a day of remembrance. Celebration. Service.
But clearly, Mother Nature had something else in mind for the Shreveport-Bossier City area.
The nasty, cold, rainy weather has already cancelled a number of activities and events for the day and most folks will probably wind up spending the day at home - at least the ones that didn’t have to work today.
So, does that mean that the annual recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is lost this year? Of course not.
It’s just like a Sunday service – do you forget the sermon as soon as you head out of the church doors?
Unfortunately, for many, that’s probably the case.
However, the true idea of King’s message was not to just commemorate his impact on American history for one day, but to incorporate his message of love and service to all humanity into our daily lives.
So, if your plans to give or volunteer or celebrate the holiday got washed away by the bad weather and subsequent cancellations, then sorry, but you can’t use that as your excuse.
Find a way to do something tomorrow, or this weekend, or for the rest of the year. In fact, just make it a daily goal.
What are you doing to remember Dr. King's legacy?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Should we be worried?

Last Friday (Jan. 5), a bit of news that could affect everybody seemed to get very little coverage.
Just before Congress' Christmas break, President Bush's signed a standard piece of postal legislation. The bill doesn't seem to be that important, but what has raised questions is Bush's signing statement interpreting the newly passed law.
The statement sets up a pretty broad set of circumstances in which mail could be opened and searched without a warrant. Though the statement is really just a suggestion, it can shape the way a law is enforced.
The ACLU is outraged and the American Bar Association notes that Bush has issued more signing statements than all other presidents combined and his actions are hurting the separation of powers set up in the Constitution.
In the past few years, American citizens believed to be involved in terrorist actions have been held indefinitely without being charged, denied access to the outside world, including legal counsel, and tried in military courts instead of by juries of their peers; in some cities, security cameras record everything that happens on public thoroughfares; and some believe the government has listened to private citizens' phone calls without warrants.
In an era in which fear of terrorism is pervasive and the country is at war, how much should we sacrifice to be safe and how will we know if things have gone too far?

Friday, January 12, 2007

My George Strait jukebox

Forgive me, I took this idea from Teddy Allen, but here are my top 10 George Strait songs of all-time, in honor of country's king, who plays the CenturyTel Center in about 2 hours.

10. Texas
9. The Best Day
8. Chill of an Early Fall
7. Cowboys Like Us
6. Drinking Champagne
5. You Look So Good in Love
4. 80 Proof Bottle of Tear Stopper
3. Blame It on Mexico
2. Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind?
1. The Chair

"Family-friendly" equals cha-ching???

I remember when the Red River District first opened.
I’d just returned here to start my first job since graduating from college in New Orleans and there was all this hype surrounding this new venture that was about to open.

It was supposed to be like Beale Street in Memphis or maybe even a nicer, cleaner Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
Of course, five years, several owners and countless closed businesses later, it’s not even like Texas Street on a busy day.

So I read the story this morning about how the latest owner, Eldorado Casino, plans to make it comparable to the Louisiana Boardwalk across the river. More family friendly.

And I wonder is that the solution? I mean, I do think some of the readers' comments on the story have a point about the need for more police protection and all, but will teenagers and their parents on a Friday night resurrect the District?

I guess my only thing is as a 27-year-old single professional, I can’t figure out exactly what would draw me down there. Then again, beyond an outlying club or two, I don’t know what would draw me down there as it is right now, either. So I guess maybe time will tell.

What do y’all think? Could the new owners be on to something?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Chasing relaxation

These first couple of weeks of 2007 have been a little tough for me.
There are a lot of changes going on here at work as well as some personal stuff that have me more than a little stressed.

Since I first started in the newspaper industry in 2005 I’ve been searching for some de-stressing methods that would work for me, but to no avail.
I’ve tried simple quiet time, meditation and exercise, but they haven’t really worked out. These activities calm me down while I'm doing them, but as soon as I'm done, the worrying and the stress resume.

Any ideas? What do you do when stress levels are high and patience is low?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Only music should be funky, not a city

Even though I’m a stubborn gal, (Yes, I’m actually admitting it.) there are certain things I can tolerate.
For instance, I’m willing to compromise on the fact that some folks choose to drive 60 mph in the fast lane. It’s annoying, but the good thing is I can always just simply pass them.
When I get stuck in a conversation with a long-winded person that should have ended 30 minutes earlier than it does, I don’t rudely interrupt them because, hey, maybe they really need to get something off of their chest. I just try to avoid them in the future.
I’ll even patiently wait for an hour or two in line at the DMV to renew my vehicle registration. Yeah, I may roll my eyes and have all kinds of attitude on my face, but I mean, that’s just one of those things you can’t avoid.
But one of the things I can NOT stand is foul odor. Of any kind. Especially when it’s one you have no control over.
Ashley initially blogged about this in an earlier post, but the level of downtown stench deserves another mention. Especially yesterday.
When I returned from lunch and got out of my car, the funk hit me like a ton of bricks.
That strong foul vapor seeped into my nostrils and went straight to my stomach. I thought I’d see my lunch again.
And the worst part about it is that it’s not a body odor or even a food odor. It’s a downtown city odor. That's kinda hard to avoid.
Even the mayor’s fed up with it.
They say it comes from a rendering plant nearyby, but whatever the reason, it’s got to go. I mean, Lord knows every city has it smells, but it should never be pervasive enough to make you lose your lunch.
I can’t even imagine what tourists think.
It’s just not a good look, or smell for that matter, for the next great city of the South. Or am I overreacting?

Take note

Monday night, I attended the farewell Mass for Bishop William Friend of the Diocese of Shreveport. It struck me that many of the folks we all grew up looking to for leadership and guidance are getting to that age where they retire from work (or even from life).

I went to the event just as a sheep, to acknowledge this man who has led my church. But I found myself taking notes (you can take the girl out of the newsroom....) just to remember some of his sermon. I would encourage y'all to find these people who have guided you in some way and remember what they have to say.

Everyone's an expert now...

Used to be you had to have some expertise on a subject to get published. Now people masquerade intelligence through blogs like this one and posts on community forums, like the ones the Times has for comments and debates after each online story.

And sometimes when I read local blogs and mostly when I read the comments posted to our stories, I am blown away by some the posted comments. And although I may disagree with their thoughts those posters/commenters have a right to voice their opinions and I'm glad our website affords them the opportunity to do so.

Most recently I have been perplexed by some of the comments posted to our coverage about the shootings at the Greenwood mayor's house. Some folks on the forum believe the actions weren't malicious, some say they think the shootings were the result of a drug deal gone bad, and others say the shots were a warning for the newly elected and first black mayor to get out of town. (I think I'm going with the later belief--some things are just obvious. The television news stations even uncovered a blog that details community members' hatred for the mayor.)

But I don't think any of these posters has any inside knowledge of what happened at Mayor Ernest Lampkins' house. And most all of the posters insisted their view was the correct one--even the drug deal gone sour. We don't know what the cause of the shooting is, but everyone sure is free to go on speculating and dishing out their half-baked expertise on that matter and any other one they choose.

Free speech, hunh? Wow sometimes it blows me away.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Get outside!

I know it's late in the day now, but stop playing Solitaire and go get some fresh air! Better yet, take a walk, or get in a quick jog, hike or bike ride. It's been a beautiful day, and fortunately I'm off on Mondays. I'm still scraping little chunks of mud off my face from my bike ride on the trails at Lake Bistineau State Park.

Some people think the woods are ugly in the winter since a lot of the leaves have fallen, but it's really a great chance to actually catch some of our state's ever-elusive changes in elevation. Today I could see little hills carved out by the usually dry creeks that feed into Bistineau. They also make for some pretty good bumps and jumps when you’re on a bike.

You can probably catch another good hour of sunlight if you get off the computer right now. Tell the boss you’ll come back and finish up after dark! But if you can't convince your supervisor today, we're supposed to have sun and not-too-chilly temperatures for the next couple days. Make some plans!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Now that we're done with holiday visiting...

Here's a dirty little survey that says our grandparents' generation was most likely as promiscuous as ours.

This may be difficult, but think back a few weeks ago to Christmas Day. I'm sure grandma gave you a big smooch on the cheek. I suppose that sweet kiss seems a little raunchy now, huh?

Gross, I know. But someone's got to do a little thinking. I'm not sure society -- and particularly our generation -- is that much worse than it ever has been. People talk about crime being at an all-time high, but so is the population. Population growth and crime rates tend to go hand-in-hand.

Crime's not necessarily a moral issue like premarital sex, you say? Well, young people had to figure out something to do before video games and the Internet came along. We always find something to occupy our time.

Friday, January 05, 2007

30 ain't that bad...

Last year Shreveport only had 30 murders, according to a story Adam wrote that was published Wednesday in The Times.

But that number really isn't that bad. Is it?

Yes, I know it's absolutely horrible for the victims and their families. Loosing someone to an act of senseless violence is always horrendous and I can't even pretend to know how they feel. And its equally bad because people are still getting shot, stabbed, and brutalized--but they aren't dying as they once used to.

But 30? That's a lot better than what it has been in previous years.

Maybe Shreveport isn't as bad and dangerous as some folks (like my parents) think.

It's getting better. And that's something to be glad about, right?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Some more good stuff from the Sugar Bowl

Besides humbling Notre Dame 41-14 in its ninth consecutive bowl loss, there were a few other highlights last night in New Orleans.

  • Drunk people on stairs. If you haven’t been to the nosebleeds in the Superdome, get ready to do some serious climbing to get there. And those steps get pretty steep, so you’ll have plenty of chances to see intoxicated folks fall down. One lady sent her cup of beer flying, and I laughed.

  • Plastic beer bottles with screw on caps. Obviously that lady didn’t know about these before her unfortunate ascent. But they made it safer for her subsequent trips. When people dropped them on you, they wouldn’t spill or crack your skull.

  • Two top-notch college marching bands. Neither bring the funk like Grambling or Southern, but they’re both rooted in tradition. There’s no question about LSU fans’ intense love for the Golden Band from Tigerland, but it was fun to see the Band of the Fighting Irish running across the field versus the Tiger Band’s slower strut. I wasn’t sure the Fighting Irish band’s tribute wasn’t a subtle form of mockery, though. But never fear, the purple-and-gold crowd was quick to boo Notre Dame’s alma mater. Classy.

  • My Resolution: No More Pills

    Like most folks, I have made - yet again - a New Year's resolution to trim away a few pounds and recapture my former college glory (it was brief, yet still enjoyable).

    In the past, these resolutions produced varying results due mostly to varying efforts. I lifted weights, logged hundreds of miles on treadmills and trails and tried all sorts of ways to cure a pretty severe sweet tooth.

    Most often, though, I spent waaay too much of my money on supplements ranging from creatine to carnitine to Hydroxycut to Muscle Milk and a bunch of other strangely named pills that aim to fiddle with my metabolism.

    I mention this because of news today that the Federal Trade Commission fined four diet pill makers, including TrimSpa which has been touted by Anna Nicole Smith, for making false claims. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16467558/wid/11915773?GT1=8921

    Without rehashing with the AP article already covers, know this: the only sure way to better times on the scale is by eating a balanced diet and working out somewhat regularly. It sounds simple but, somehow, remains extremely hard for most of us. There is no cure in a bottle, no matter how much these pill marketers try to convince us otherwise.

    And while I'm not running 10 miles a day like Diane (that, to me, seems particularly grueling), I'm getting ready for more miles on the treadmill and a few sets under a weight bench. See ya'll at the gym, I guess.

    Wednesday, January 03, 2007

    just when you thought you had seen it all

    Check out this bizarre string of comment's on Alex Kent's movies blog. It makes other comments in the blogosphere look normal.

    Monday, January 01, 2007

    The text message sent 'round the world

    I’m not a big fan of forwards – whether they’re e-mails or text messages.
    But I got one last night that made me pause, think and actually send it on.

    As I was getting dressed in my bathroom, dancing to Beyonce's 'Upgrade U," preparing to ring in the new year at D.Pea’s house, I got this on my cell phone:

    "2006 flew past us but b4 it leaves 4 good I want u 2 know I really enjoyed having you in my life this year. Luv U! Send this to everyone you care about, even me."

    I don’t know if I was so excited about the pending celebration or maybe I was feeling a little sentimental about the end of yet another year, but I actually liked it and forwarded it to some of my friends.

    One of the people I sent it to was Ashley, who told me she had gotten that same forward at least twice during the day. And later that night, I got it again from a friend back in Virginia and another in Ohio (totally unrelated that I hadn't sent it to originally.)

    Did anybody else get this message through text yesterday? Just wondering how widespread this thing was…