Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You're invited to Veronica White's booksigning tomorrow

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2009 at 2:15 PM


It's $35, but Amazon has a used copy for $26.99.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Tracy Morgan Effect

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2009 at 10:25 PM

With Tracy Morgan coming to town — he’s the MC of this weekend’s Domino Effect concert, profiled in the current issue of Gambit — it seemed like the right time to dust off his YouTube highlight reel, which plays out like Gretzky or Jordan in their primes. Besides the SNL and 30 Rock segments, it includes a string of ridiculous ESPN video game commercials (undiscovered gems in the diamond mine that is Morgan’s comedy career; see above), obscure standup performances and an even more absurd series of live talk show appearances, several of which are reputed to have occurred under the influence of alcohol. (Though I must side with YouTube commenter mporto82, who, in response to a video titled "Tracy Morgan wasted on David Letterman," astutely notes, “My god.. every tracy video is the same deal around here.. he's not wasted!!!”) Asked whether his role in the Domino Effect would be scripted, producer Dave Rosen replied, “Script and other. Hopefully there will be no meltdowns. He’s been clean and sober now for over a year.” Um, damn? More Morgan gold after the jump:

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"I am not a fan of books" -- Author Kanye West

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2009 at 10:00 PM

It's a shame that Reuters doesn't always run bylines, because this story is a model on how to write a first-paragraph grabber:

Rapper Kanye West does not read books or respect them but nevertheless he has written one that he would like you to buy and read.

The Grammy Award winner, known for his No. 1 albums and outspoken statements on everything from racism in America to the banality of Twitter, is the co-author of Thank You And You're Welcome.

His book is 52 pages -- some blank, others with just a few words -- and offers his optimistic philosophy on life. One two-page section reads, "Life is 5% what happens and 95% how you react!" Another page reads "I hate the word hate!"

"This is a collection of thoughts and theories," West, 31, said in an interview about his spiral-bound volume, which was written with J. Sakiya Sandifer.

Thoughts like these:

"Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed," West said. "I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book's autograph.

"I am a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life," he said.

West, a college dropout, said being a non-reader was helpful when he wrote his book because it gave him "a childlike purity."

$10 retail, or you can pick up the ghost-written 52 pages at for the bargain price of eight bills. Unless, like Kanye, you're a proud non-buyer of books and prefer to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life.

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Community Rallies for Stricken Ritz-Carlton Chef

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2009 at 5:57 PM

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Matthew Murphy, executive chef at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, is fighting the sudden affliction of a rare and severe blood condition. Murphy was rushed to Ochsner Medical Center on Friday and admitted to its intensive care unit, where he is now being treated for DIC, a life-threatening condition that prevents a person's blood from clotting normally.

Murphy and his wife Alicia welcomed quadruplet daughters late in 2007, and the Web site they set up to tell their family's story is now being used to post public updates on his struggle.

Financial donations are being accepted at any Capital One Bank branch through the Matthew J. Murphy Donation Account #2077720319.

People may also donate blood in Murphy's name at the Ochsner Blood Bank, located on the first floor of the Ochsner Medical Center, 1514 Jefferson Highway.

The Ritz-Carlton is planning a benefit for Murphy on June 14. The benefit will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the hotel's grand ballroom and will feature cooking demonstrations and food samples from Murphy's chef friends from across Louisiana and a silent auction of items from Ritz-Carlton properties and local businesses. The suggested donation and other details will be announced soon.

Murphy, a native of Ireland, worked as sous chef under the late Jamie Shannon at Commander's Palace before joining the staff at the Ritz-Carlton in 2002. He oversees the hotel’s signature restaurant, Mélange, as well as its other culinary operations.

-- Ian McNulty

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Illinois To Host Hurricane Response Expert

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Mayor Nagin will deliver a keynote address today at the Illinois Faith-Based Emergency Preparedness Initiative's Town Hall Luncheon Meeting in Springfield, Illinois. Nagin’s topic will be “Lessons Learned from Hurricane Katrina and the Role that Faith-Based Organizations Can Play.”

     The mayor will also serve as a panelist at the meeting, and he will be given a tour of the Illinois State Emergency Operations Center, a facility designed to bring all appropriate decision makers together in an emergency to allow for streamlined communication and efficient decision making.

     Nagin will return to New Orleans on Wednesday.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

New Orleans Sports Scuttlebutt 5-25-09

Posted By on Mon, May 25, 2009 at 10:59 PM

In 2008 the New Orleans Saints had the number one ranked offense in the league, posting an impressive 6,571 yards. Unfortunately, their running game accounted for only 1,594 of them- less than a fourth of their total. Deuce McAllister now gone, the Saints have turned to the draft and free-agency to reignite a running game that helped them come within one game of the Super Bowl in 2006.


Recently, New Orleans has been looking at former Arizona Cardinals' running back Edgerrin James. But the Saints' running backs say there's no need to sign anyone else. This despite having the 28th ranked rushing attack last season- a season that saw New Orleans literally two yards away from being 10-6 and potentially in the  playoffs  instead of 8-8 with an early vacation.


In week two against the Washington Redskins the Saints were up 24-22 on their own 37 yard line. With 4:34 left in regulation Pierre Thomas was stopped on a critical third and one that would have allowed New Orleans to burn more clock, or even add to their lead. Instead, the Saints were forced to punt. They were torched on the very next play for a sixty-seven yard game winning touchdown from Jason Campbell to Santana Moss.


The following week New Orleans was faced with a similar scenario. This time down 32-34 to the Denver Broncos with 2:19 left to play, the Saints' drive was stalled on the Denver twenty-five yard line after, for the second straight week, Thomas was unable to convert on an important third and one-resulting in back-to-back losses for the "Black-and -Gold."


“The times we did get stopped, I took that personally,” Thomas said. “That was on me. I should have gotten it. That’s the mentality you have to have. If it’s third and one, fourth and one, they call your name you have to get it.”


Thomas' contrition for his calamitous start to the 2008 season made the un-drafted back out of Illinois work harder to be the short yardage  power back the Saints are looking for. He's clearly bulked up,  adding about 10 pounds to his 215 lb frame-mostly in his legs.


“I’ve been trying to work on my legs, get more explosiveness in my legs, and just try to get that chance when it’s third and one and they call my name, and they know I’m going to get it for the,” Thomas said.


So far coach Sean Payton seems pleased with his corps group of running backs. “I felt, and I’ve said this before, I think those guys understand their roles and understand what they’re competing for,” said Payton.


As of now, including Thomas, the Saints have eight backs on their roster: Darian Barnes (Buffalo), Mike Bell (returning), Reggie Bush (returning), Herb Donaldson( Western Illinois), Lynell Hamilton (San Diego State), P.J. Hill (Wisconsin), and Aaron Stecker (returning).


“I think the running back corps we have is very capable,” Hamilton said. “You haven’t seen much of me or Mike Bell... There are a lot of guys on the team that didn’t come out with big names. Pierre turned out to have a big name.


Bush and Thomas aside, its too early to tell just who exactly will be manning the Saints' backfield on Sundays, and even those two are on the "hot seat." Fans are becoming less and less enamored with Bush as a utility back and Thomas' detractors are quick to point out that his '5''11 frame may not be able to support the weight of a sixteen game season.


Even worse is the fact that the pair was 9-for-17 on third and one conversions last season-forcing New Orleans to become a one dimensional team. But in 2009 defenses will undoubtedly be ready for quarterback Drew Brees as he'll try to recreate the success he had in 2008.  One thing is certain, he'll need a balanced running attack to keep blitz-happy coordinators honest, or his new teammates could find themselves picking their Pro-Bowl quarterback up off the turf a little more than they'd like to.

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I'm Sure the Saints Are Being 100% Transparent about Jeremy Shockey

Posted By on Mon, May 25, 2009 at 12:47 PM

Shockey dehydrated...riiiight


So the big Saints news this morning has to be about Jeremy Shockey and his little incident yesterday at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas. If you haven't heard, Shockey was found unconscious at a pool party around 2 p.m. yesterday and was taken to a Las Vegas hospital, where he was later released.


Officially, the Saints are saying that Shockey was "dehydrated" and that he'll be "fine". Unofficially? Well let's let the rampant, baseless rumors fly! Well, the section at the Hard Rock he was at was called "Rehab" and, even though it's Memorial Day weekend, being passed out at 2 p.m. is still pretty extraordinary. So, clearly, Shockey is some sort of meth junkie-vampire hybrid and being "dehydrated" probably means he wasn't sucking as much blood as he should have been to combat the desert heat. Makes you wonder how he's going to make it through training camp.

Also, as you may have heard, Shockey was absent for last week's Organized Team Activity. Though OTAs are officially voluntary, players still make sure their coaches know they have a good excuse if they don't intend to show. Shockey had personal issues to take care of according to head coach Sean Payton. I'm sure the news of having his starting tight end checked into a Las Vegas hospital didn't put a hitch coach Payton's holiday weekend at all.


Oh, and I expect the Saints to be nothing but forthright and honest about every single detail about what happened. Because that's what NFL teams do.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

New Orleans Sports Scuttlebutt 5-22-09

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2009 at 11:08 PM

by Clay A. Smith


Reggie stretching


Photograph by Jonathan Bachman

I hate to get emotionally invested in the Saints-because it makes the let-down all the more excruciating. We’ve all heard this story and it usually ends in teeth grinding agony.  So I try to compartmentalize, store my bursting enthusiasm in the obscure  recesses of my subconscious- you know, where we keep painfully awkward moments, the answers to Trivial Purist, and the theme song from the Jeffersons.


But in the Saints' OTAs their defense is showing off its new personality.Thanks to new coordinator Greg Williams the Saints' "D" is practicing with passion and fire. Known for his "ball hawking" defenses that place a premium on forcing turnovers, Williams is establishing a new culture in New Orleans.


"..they're trying to build a confidence and swagger. They're installing a lot of stuff. Guys are flying around," said quarterback Derw Brees.


"For us as an offense, I think it's great. I think we're only going to make each other better. I think we have a lot of pride and confidence..." Brees added.


Yes, I know its hard to believe, but it really seems like we'll see the Dawn of a New “D” in 2009. And part of that dawning is a revised ensemble cast that features familiar veterans, All-Pros, and current as well as former first round draft picks. Defensive backs Jabari Greer (Buffalo), Malcom Jenkins (Ohio State), and  Darren Sharper (Minnesota) in addition to former Panthers line Backer Dan Morgan are all high profile acquisitions that will likely have an immediate impact on a secondary that was easily the Saints Achilles-heel the past few seasons. But then again, isn't that what we thought about Jason David?

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Tonight: Harvey Milk. No, the other one.

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2009 at 10:36 PM

After relishing in obscurity in its Athens, Ga. hometown for six or so years (1992-1998), ear-obliterators Harvey Milk found its discography wound up being reissued and finding new fans all over the place. The band never ventured far from its hometown in its ’90s heyday, despite releasing numerous 7” singles and several studio albums and compilations. The band did eventually reunite in 2006, releasing the acclaimed, heavier-than-thou Life… The Best Game In Town (Hydra Head) in 2008. Now a bit gray in the hair, the band shifts effortlessly (and sometimes brutally) from minimal, ear-splitting warpath sludge to arena-sized riff operas, with some southern-fried Led Zeppelin blues-metal for the occasional howler. John Bonham’s drums resonate throughout, as does the doom and gloom of heavies and colleagues Earth, Sunn O))) and The Melvins. Earplugs are for babies.


The band plays an all-ages gig tonight at the Zeitgeist at 7 p.m. Admission is $5.


It’s only fitting that Harvey Milk is to compete for the attention of a like-minded audience most likely headed to Baton Rouge for an impressive Pelican, Isis and Torche triple bill. Instead, the band plays alongside local punks Stupid Man and Baton Rouge’s guitar-wielding indie rockers Man Plus Building. (Hit the jump for a trailer of the band's documentary, Anthem.)

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Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2009 at 10:00 PM


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    You've seen 'em everywhere: biodegradable plastics. Quite a few local coffee shops and restaurants swear by them. But do they work? Or are they just another thing to throw away? Bottom line: Use something you can put in your dishwasher. (Not getting something to go? Ask for a mug or glass before they fill a plastic one.)
  • According to the Organic Trade Association numbers, organic food sales increased 17.1 percent in 2008 from 2007.
  • The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says this spring is the greenest season yet in home building in the U.S. It cites more than 3,100 builders, designers, etc. earned the Certified Green Professional educational designation, and more than 200 single-family homes, remodeling projects and developments in 43 states have received National Green Building Certification, with another 300-plus scheduled for inspections. Learn more here.
  • Yesterday, One Block off the Grid and South Coast Solar announced the New Orleans area will be the program’s first official city outside of California for a solar community purchasing program which would allow homeowners to organize as a community and buy solar in bulk at a discount.
  • New York Gov. David Patterson may be close a statewide bottled water ban, along with San Fran and Chicago, uses sound reasoning: "Taxpayers have spent billions of dollars to ensure that we have clean drinking water supplies. If we are going to make such significant investments, we should reap the benefits and use that water. Our efforts will serve as an example for local governments, businesses and residents to follow." Plus, reusable bottles out there are way cooler looking than those plastics.

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