Showing posts with label Confederacy of Dunces. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Confederacy of Dunces. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Snooki in 2033

If you swing by the Pep Boys on Baldwin in Freeport, N.Y., the bikini-clad lady in the hot dog truck will show you her weenies, and that's OK.

But the long arm of the law on Long Island has a big problem if you return the favor to 45-year-old Catherine Scalia . . . and thus she ended up pleading guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor prostitution, which she instead insisted was merely indecent exposure.

Nude conduct, as it were.

Thus we have the remarkable case in which
Lana Lee -- not Ignatius J. Reilly -- ends up hawking Lucky Dogs, but gets into trouble when one transaction ends up being for a Night of Joy. But the saddest thing about the whole thing is not having Burma Jones there to narrate.

Now where's my soiled bedsheet? We need a good banner. How about this?
"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their weenies!"

I shall dub this movement the Crusade for Frankish Dignity.
Hot-dog lovers of Long Island! Listen to the voice of the oppressed:

“I’m a mother of four kids and, yes, I show my cleavage," Scalia said. "I think it’s sexy. If Pamela Anderson can do it, so can I.”

Thursday, March 15, 2012

American idol

“A firm rule must be imposed upon our nation before it destroys itself. The United States needs some theology and geometry, some taste and decency. I suspect that we are teetering on the edge of the abyss."
-- Ignatius J. Reilly

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'll tell the man to turn the jukebox way down low

When I was back in the homeland, I took the opportunity to retrieve some old LPs from a hall closet in my childhood home, where for years they'd been sitting, absorbing the smell of cedar.
These are among the buttons on the jukebox of my musical formation -- eclectic selections that once spun on a 1948 Silvertone, that or a 1962 Magnavox. They spin still in my memory . . . and now on a couple of turntables in my Omaha studio.
There's a date on the back of this Jim Reeves album -- 6-9-1962. It seems to be in my mother's uneven hand. She was 12 years younger than I am now, and she lived in a different world. Different worlds, actually.
So did we all then.
THERE'S STILL a price tag from D.H. Holmes on it . . . several of them.

In 1962, D.H. Holmes department store --
D.H. Holmeses to Mama, Irene Reilly and half the people in south Louisiana -- was all that and a Dixie 45. D.H. Holmeses was where we bought our TV sets and records and other cool stuff . . . and, of course, your macaroons and tea cakes.

D.H. Holmeses ain't dere no more. The one on Canal in New Orleans now is a hotel, but Ignatius still waits under the clock in front for his mama. He's a good boy -- not at all like them "gamblers, prostitutes, exhibitionists, anti-Christs, alcoholics, sodomites, drug addicts, fetishists, onanists, pornographers, frauds, jades, litterbugs and lesbians, all too well protected by graft" that New Orleans is so infamous for.

The big Holmeses in Baton Rouge -- our Holmeses, which still was little in relation to the big, old Holmeses some 80 miles south -- now is a ghost in the middle of what used to be the Bon Marché shopping center, which now is the Bon Carré bidness park.

And if you listen real hard, you can hear the new Jim Reeves album playing in the record department. Close by, Mr. Ruffino is selling a 21-inch Magnavox black-and-white console TV to my old man.

But not the color set. Color television is just a fad.

Might even be communiss. You never know nowadays.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Not waiting for locusts, exactly

"You talk to relatives and friends who aren't from here and the first thing they ask you -- they give you that special look -- is, 'Are y'all going to be OK?'

"You know what they're really thinking, they're just too polite to say it. What they're really thinking is, 'What's wrong with you people? Are y'all waiting for locusts?'"

-- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
Oct. 29, 2010

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lies, damn lies and TV 'exclusives'

An NCAA letter that Campaign for Boorish Dignity head Garry Gernandt touts as proof that Rosenblatt Stadium can be saved and still ensure Omaha's future as the long-term host of the College World Series proves only one thing.

IT PROVES that Garry Gernandt is a numbskull, and that the loudmouthed, ill-mannered and sartorially challenged civic lynch mob he leads is on the verge of costing the city the series -- a blow that might well dwarf the shot Omaha took when Enron packed up and moved out in the 1980s.

Here's what KMTV television reporter Joe Jordan, desperate for a "gotcha,"
unveiled as his "big scoop" on today's 5 p.m. newscast:
Action 3 News has uncovered a letter from the NCAA that sheds new light on the stadium battle and could give the city a way out of the current uproar over plans for a new downtown stadium.

The letter was written two weeks before Mayor Fahey took his sales pitch for a new downtown ballpark to the NCAA in Indianapolis, telling the city a one to five year contract extension is possible when the current contract expires in 2008.

In the letter the NCAA clearly noted that, "The NCAA does not have a preference for any specific proposal." The letter was written before several angry public hearings where the Mayor was almost on trial, "You sir should lose your job for this," criticized one angry citizen.

In the letter to College World Series Inc. President jack Deising
[sic], the NCAA may have given the city an out, "If the local community is not of one mind regarding a long-term proposal for the College World Series, the NCAA would consider a traditional hosting term of five or fewer years."
IF YOU READ the actual letter, it's clear than the NCAA might not have a preference for any specific proposal for building a new ballpark. At least not before Omaha made its official pitch in Indianapolis last month. But what is clear from the letter is the NCAA does have a "preference" for -- at a bare minimum -- the kind of radical remake of Rosenblatt Stadium and the surrounding hardscrabble neighborhood that makes absolutely, positively no economic sense when compared to building anew downtown . . . and that it's quite ready to start looking elsewhere for what it demands.

Furthermore, the kind of renovation it's clear the NCAA would like to see at Rosenblatt would displace the Omaha Royals Triple-A baseball team for most of two seasons (likely to another city) and would take virtually the same amount of city revenues to pull off as would building anew in North Downtown next to the Qwest Center.

And if tax-phobic Omaha residents hate the thought that city fathers are plotting to soak them -- despite leaders' repeated denials -- to build a new downtown stadium, logic dictates that they ought to hate a renovation of Rosenblatt with the same level of paranoid, white-hot passion.

LET'S LOOK at what the letter actually says, as opposed to what Gernandt and Channel 3 have been touting.

does the National Collegiate Athletic Association mean when the letter, by baseball director Dennis Poppe, refers to its "expectations of an atmosphere and venue that is befitting the College World Series"?

To get an idea of that, let's go back to what has been reported thus far in the press. First, we go back to Oct. 12 of last year
and open the pages of the Omaha World-Herald:
The details, found in private memos and letters reviewed by The World-Herald, support Mayor Mike Fahey's contention that the NCAA, not the mayor himself, is the driving force behind building a new $100 million stadium in north downtown.

But the letters also help explain why David Sokol, chairman of the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority, says that Fahey missed his chance early this year to strike a deal that would have retained the series with a much cheaper renovation of Rosenblatt Stadium.

Fahey disputes Sokol's contention, which the businessman made Thursday at a MECA meeting.

Both sides agree on one thing: the moment for a lower-cost renovation of Rosenblatt has passed.

A spokesman from the NCAA echoed that sentiment.

Bob Williams, managing director of media and public relations for the NCAA, said late Thursday: "If you keep Rosenblatt the way it is, it is not going to garner you a long-term agreement."
THERE WE HAVE from the horse's mouth that Rosenblatt as is is unacceptable as a long-term home for the CWS. So what does the NCAA want?

Again, from the World-Herald article from last fall:

On Feb. 23, city officials and Diesing made a formal Rosenblatt proposal to Dennis Poppe, the NCAA's managing director for football and baseball, in Fahey's office. The presentation was complete with flip charts and spread sheets, and Fahey and Diesing believed that it went well.

Then came the NCAA's response on March 12. The NCAA had a totally different concept:

"Build a new state-of-the-art facility to host the Men's College World Series in a location near downtown Omaha," the NCAA wrote in a memo to CWS Inc. "Not doing so amounts to putting an expensive band-aid over what ails aging Rosenblatt Stadium."

Sokol said his reading of the memo was that it was a suggestion to "think outside the box."

The memo points to the age of the stadium, which was built in 1948, as well as its services and amenities.

Rosenblatt has history, according to the NCAA memo, but what makes the CWS different from any other major championship is the affordability of tickets for families. And, according to the memo, affordability is what "makes the CWS so special, not the stadium."

The memo says some of Rosenblatt's character could be incorporated into a new downtown stadium, including moving the Road to Omaha statue to a brick plaza reminiscent of Rosenblatt's entrance.

The NCAA memo put a price tag on a new downtown stadium: $50 million.

The March memo from the NCAA concludes: "It is unlikely the proposed $26 million investment by the Omaha community for Rosenblatt will be the end of major capital improvement needs at the stadium in the next decade."

After receiving the memo, CWS Inc. and city officials brought in an architect to look at a downtown stadium plan. Fahey saw an opportunity to lock in a 20-year contract to ensure that the CWS would stay in Omaha through 2030. The initial downtown plan was presented to the NCAA in May.

On June 24, the NCAA wrote another memo, this time addressing both the downtown stadium plan and the proposed $26 million Rosenblatt renovation.

On Rosenblatt, the NCAA wrote: "There are limitations to Rosenblatt Stadium that are not addressed by the proposed renovation plan." The NCAA then gave an extensive list of problems from narrow concourses to the lack of a drug-testing area.

The NCAA asked whether the city was willing "to commit significantly more than the $26 million to the immediate and long-term needs of the facility."

The NCAA also raised its estimated cost of a new stadium to $100 million, noting that industry contacts consider it "more cost-effective to build a new facility rather than attempt to renovate an aging venue."

"Why would we not pursue the construction of a new stadium given this opinion from the industry?" the NCAA asked in the memo.

Then, on Aug. 28, a more detailed plan for a new stadium north of the convention center and arena was presented to a team of NCAA officials.

On Sept. 14, the NCAA response arrived. While taking no position on where a new stadium should be situated, the NCAA endorsed Omaha's plans. The city and CWS Inc. "have listened to the NCAA's stated needs for the College World Series," it said.

The mayor has formed a seven-person committee to look at all issues related to the ballpark, including rebuilding Rosenblatt.

Sokol, who will sit on that committee, believes that the $26 million renovation would have been enough to satisfy the NCAA had the mayor acted early this year. Now, Sokol believes, it will be much more expensive to keep the CWS.

Diesing, president of CWS Inc., said the process didn't break down, and there's no going back.
PLEASE, DO WE NEED any more evidence to the extent of Gernandt's and the Campaign for Boorish Dignity's utter disingenuousness, not to mention the extent to which TV journalism has become dumbed down and memory-challenged?

Joe Jordan and Garry Gernandt's "gotcha" letter from the NCAA concludes:

IT DOESN'T TAKE a rocket scientist to interpret "would consider a traditional hosting term of five or fewer years following the current agreement's conclusion in 2010." And, no, it does not mean
"Never mind, Omaha. We love you just the way you are."

It doesn't even mean Omaha will get a second chance to get its act together to save the series. It means what it says -- if the city can't come to a prompt agreement on giving the NCAA exactly what it wants -- in effect, a brand-new stadium in a better location or the virtual equivalent thereof -- the NCAA might give Omaha a very few years (or less) to give it exactly what it wants.

Then again, maybe not.

The one thing we do know for certain is there are other cities out there that want the College World Series, and they can give the NCAA exactly what it wants right now. Not in a decade or more . . . or never, if Garry Gernandt and his angry band of ill-mannered louts succeed in bullying the city government into hanging on to a stadium the NCAA no longer sees as fit for its second-largest championship event.

For that matter, a stadium the Omaha Royals aren't too keen on, either.

PERHAPS, in order to buck up city councilmen in the face of insurrection by the Campaign for Boorish Dignity, we can turn to the comments the Save Rosenblatt Committee has seen fit to post on
its own website. I think that would be pretty instructive:
* I have been to many a game there over the last few years and Rosenblatt contains a lot of my memories. My husband is against the demise also. Rosenblatt is a perfectly good stadium. We do not need to demise it and build another just to say we did. Thanks.

* Who wants to go to gun play area omaha to watch a game. NO Thanks




Don't gid rid of Rosenblatt!!! No matter how nice the new stadium would be, it would NOT be the same. SAVE ROSENBLATT!!!

Screw the zoo interests that want Rosenblatt to go away - this is the reality of the situation. The friggin' monkeys, lions and tigers want room to expand. Wrigley Field and Fenway exude the same aura that make Rosenblatt a special place during the CWS.

This is a stupid idea to have it close to Creighton and the Qwest as if traffic on Cumming is not bad enough during Bluejay games and I'm not keen on paying for parking for the Royals!!!!!

The NCAA is always talking about keeping the integrity in athletics, so put your money were your mouth is, LEAVE ROSENBLATT AND THE SERIES WERE IT IS, it's not broken, but the Bowl system is in football is, so FIX THAT!!!!!!!!
ON ONE SIDE of this colossal civic argument, you have facts, figures and a stack of correspondence from the NCAA outlining exactly what it wants for the CWS to stay in Omaha -- and that Rosenblatt ain't it.

On the other side, you have sentimentality, anger, some South Omahans worried their yard-parking franchise is about to disappear . . . and a deluded few who think the CWS will go away
if anybody changes Rosenblatt one iota.

In short, on the one side you have informed opinion -- opinion based on engineering, economics, financials and the NCAA's stated desires for the CWS -- while on the other, the Save Rosenblatt people are counting on the ill-informed to out-holler people who actually know what the hell they're talking about.

Sadly, the louts look like they might win in a rout.

I had thought Omaha was better than that. That's because I had forgotten exactly how good Omahans can be at shooting themselves in the foot . . . and deluding themselves about how manifest to the rest of America are the charms of a midsized city with an intemperate climate in the middle of "flyover country."

Who let the clods out?

Garry Gernandt and Jason Smith brought their "Save Rosenblatt" dial-a-mob to Omaha's Westside High on Monday night, showing the rest of the city that what might pass for "democracy" in South O is cut from the same cloth that gets 15-year-olds sent home for three days at your average secondary school.

BUT THEN AGAIN, out here in Not South O, democracy ideally is a little more nuanced than the lynch-mob tactics by "activists" who think screaming constitutes a rebuttal, rudeness fosters debate and that keeping an old stadium that can't offer the NCAA what it wants will keep the College World Series here forever.

Ideally. Because last night, somebody gave Gernandt's Campaign for Boorish Dignity a map to my neighborhood, and all hell broke loose.

Of course, a reporter for the Omaha World-Herald was there
to document a case study in why America is a republic and not a direct democracy:
During an hourlong question-and-answer period that was interrupted several times by jeers and shouting, residents questioned everything from the financing plan for the proposed $140 million stadium to whether the NCAA would move the College World Series to another city.

Some of the exchanges were more heated than at the previous forums, with attendees interrupting to chant for a vote on the stadium.

Omahan Gary Tevis told Fahey he is worried that the stadium is an unnecessary cost when the city is already facing an expensive overhaul of its sewer system and the debt for the Qwest Center Omaha.

"There is no way that the city is ever going to be able to afford this," Tevis said. "There's more holes in this plan than Swiss cheese."

Omahan Ryan Chappelear told Fahey that he should lose his job over his handling of the stadium issue.

Westside High freshman Troy Green asked why the city was pushing for a new stadium now.

"Why don't you take five years and save up for the new stadium?" Green asked to a round of applause.

Jack Diesing, president of College World Series of Omaha Inc., responded that the city has a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to keep the CWS here, and it has to take it.

"It's not called the road to Rosenblatt, it's called the road to Omaha," said Diesing, who earlier warned that Omaha has a real chance of losing the CWS if the city doesn't move forward with a new stadium.

While many people at the forum loudly opposed the stadium, the plan had supporters. Some were shouted down when they praised Fahey and the baseball stadium oversight committee, while others simply clapped to show support.
SO FAR, the city's stadium study committee -- the body that studied the options, ran the numbers and hired the consultants -- has reams of data supporting its conclusion that a new downtown stadium is the way to go to make the National Collegiate Athletic Association happy and keep the CWS in Omaha for decades to come. And, so far, the Campaign for Boorish Dignity has no studies, no data, no specifics and no clue.

What it does have is a bunch of disruptive boobs and yahoos skilled at shouting down those who are trying to cite studies, share data, give specifics and make a cogent argument.

This is supposed to be persuasive. Well, perhaps that is persuasion in a community where economic development is sending your teen-age daughter out to the curb -- in a bikini -- the third week of June with a sign that says "Park Hear -- $20 CHEEP!"

BUT I GUESS that Omaha -- after
H.L. Mencken's "booboisie" costs it the CWS and the $41 million a year it generates for the city -- will just have to get by on its regular tourist trade. You know, all those millions of people who flock here for the mountains, the sea breezes, the waters and the favorable climate year round.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Campaign for Boorish Dignity

I always used to think of "A Confederacy of Dunces" as a New Orleans thing. A fabulously hilarious, rooted-in-people-I-know, only in New Orleans -- or at least South Louisiana -- thing.

place the likes of Ignatius P. Reilly anywhere else? Squabbling with Mama in front of D.H. Holmeses on Canal Street. Ravenous -- and, unsuprisingly, failed -- vendor of Lucky Dogs in da Quarter. Wearer of a wool hunting cap and plagued by a problematic "valve."

Filler of Big Chief tablets and owner of a soiled bed sheet. Abysmally unsuited leader of a worker rebellion at the Levy Pants factory, soiled-sheeted standard bearer for the Campaign for Moorish Dignity.

Could such a quixotic character, such a comically oblivious lost-causer, exist anywhere outside the Crescent City?

Well, come to think of it . . . yeah.

Enter Omaha City Councilman Garry Gernandt, leader of the fight to save Rosenblatt Stadium and defender of South O residents' right to shake down hapless College World Series fans for ad hoc parking spots on their well-worn lawns.

Concrete blocks optional.

Gernandt and the bedraggled masses behind his Campaign for Boorish Dignity standard stand unalterably and vocally opposed to Mayor Mike Fahey's plan to move the baseball series to a brand-new, state-of-the-art downtown stadium.

Yes, it would cost city coffers just as much to renovate the 60-year-old Rosenblatt to less than what the National Collegiate Athletic Association wants in a CWS venue as it would to build new downtown. And no, down in South O, there still wouldn't be many hotel rooms within walking distance of the CWS site -- so Omaha would have to stiff the NCAA on that point, too.

True, the NCAA has a lengthy list of wants for its fast-growing championship event. And, no, Omaha wouldn't be able to satisfy a lot of those wants at the old park that's been the CWS' home since 1950.

And yes, a new downtown park -- Have I mentioned it would cost the city no more than trying to fix up the aging 'Blatt? -- would meet all those NCAA demands and likely earn the city a 20- to 25-year contract extension as host of the Series. Meanwhile, failure to build a new downtown park likely would cost Omaha the CWS forever and ever, amen.

After 60 years.

But that's not important now. Not to Garry Gernandt and his foot soldiers in the Campaign for Boorish Dignity.

Some of the campaign's
well-researched counterarguments were reported in Friday's Omaha World-Herald:
"Rosenblatt is Omaha. Rosenblatt is the College World Series. Rosenblatt is the tradition of baseball in Omaha," said Al Italia, 75, who has attended CWS games at the old stadium for 58 years.

Mary Ehrhart summed it up: "We are angry, and we are frustrated."
HOW CAN economic-development rationales and financial spreadsheets refute that? Not that CWS of Omaha, Inc., chief Jack Diesing Jr. didn't try . . . when he could get a word in edgewise amid the revolutionary hecklers and boobirds:
Diesing appeared to have the most trouble balancing the emotional attachment to Rosenblatt and the decision to move downtown. He acknowledged several friends in the audience he had spent hours with enjoying the CWS over the past four decades.

"It's been the crown jewel for Omaha for 59 years," Diesing said. "But the decision is not about the past. It's about the future."

"Change is hard," Diesing said, "but change is good."

But Diesing also was heckled when he told the crowd that the NCAA was presented with only the downtown option and not an alternative of a renovated Rosenblatt. After the uproar subsided, Diesing explained that the NCAA asked Omaha to bring its single best proposal and not a stack of options.

AH, but the Good Book sayeth "Let not thy mind be troubled by facts and logic when you think The Man is out to screweth thou overeth and smiteth thy annual lawn-parking windfall."

I'm not sure what book and chapter, but it's somewhere near the back, I think. Right in there between Revelation and Zesto.

No, the important thing to remember is "Rosenblatt is Omaha. Rosenblatt is the College World Series." And if making that point means the actual CWS picks up and moves to Indianapolis . . . or Oklahoma City . . . or Orlando, then so be it. Right?

Thing is, the only other permanent tenant for beloved Rosenblatt Stadium is the Omaha Royals, the Triple-A baseball team whose management really, really would rather play somewhere else than in a ballpark that's three quarters empty just about every time those not-ready-for-prime-time boys of summer take the field.

Without the CWS to justify the existence of -- and forcing the Royals to play in -- a too-big hilltop ballyard, you can bet your last kolache that the club's owners will build their own smaller stadium downtown or extort the city to build one for them. Or else.

Of course, the Campaign for Boorish Dignity could gear up to "save Rosenblatt" one more time, but success would just be telling the O Royals not to let the door hit them in the arse on their way out of town. And where would that leave Rosenblatt Stadium, not to mention South Omaha yard-parking economics?

SEE, THAT'S THE PROBLEM with fired-up mobs of loud people with small brains. They can't see past their slogans, and they never wonder "Who is that odd man with the banner made out of a soiled bedsheet?"

That man would be Garry ("Extra 'R' for sale! Five dolla . . . cheap!") Gernandt. And the thing Gernandt won't tell his 'Blatt mob -- probably because he hasn't figured it out himself -- is that Rosenblatt Stadium is toast, no matter what.

It might be sooner, or it might be later, but the 'Blatt has had it. The only question still open is whether Omaha will lose the 'Blatt and keep the College World Series, or whether it will lose them both.

Now, if it would smooth the path toward building a new baseball stadium in North Downtown, maybe the city could meet the Campaign for Boorish Dignity halfway. Rosenblatt still would come down, and the Henry Doorly Zoo still would get the property, but the city could funnel all the CWS overflow traffic down 13th Street to South O residents' front yards.

Councilman Gernandt would be in charge of the free hayrack shuttle to the new ballpark, and the parking hucksters in the old neighborhood still could soak the out-of-towners for whatever the parking market will bear.

Concrete blocks extra.