Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Orleans Sunday Paper

Po-boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Sunday Goblins
Question: Name the one thing on Sunday morning that is common to most all New Orleanians, and possibly everyone else in the universe? We’re talkin’ everybody that’s anybody, that is with the exception of brunch cooks, ne’er do wells, runaway princesses, pirates, the mentally challenged and those of us that are ‘Proud To Crawl Home (after Saturday night)’.
Answer: Church? We would hope so. Coffee? Could be. Grits and grillads? Maybe so. Cleaning our powerful handguns? Wondering who that is sleeping next to you? How about: r e a d i n g t h e S u n d a y p a p e r ? Bingo!!!
The Sunday Paper!
I LOVE the Sunday Paper, in fact that’s what my costume is this Halloween, I call it ‘all the news that’s fit to stink’.
To honor of that rag that we affectionately call our TP (pun intended), and, as close to my dead line as possible, I’m going to pick up Sunday’s paper and point out how a ne’er do well (mentally challenged) brunch cook pirate (and his runaway princess) after crawling home (proudly) go through the locally published information at hand. I give you: ‘THE TIMES PICAYUNE’!!!
The first thing you need to do is to heft the paper, get a feel for the weight of the thing, consider the sheer amount of words that you are about consume, retain, dismiss and forevermore live with the possibility of regurgitating at the most inappropriate times ( oooh Baby, oooohhhh Baby……did you read how fares are dropping to the west coast? OUCH!! What was that for?)
Now it’s time to cull the stack. All that stuff that you know you’ll probably never read, unless you’re being held hostage at your in-laws annual brunch ‘get together’ without a decent cocktail in sight; get rid of it. Out goes the ads for Rite Aid, Lasik surgery, The Celebration Station, the K-Mart two day only white sale, Eckerd, AT&T wireless, Office Depot, Sears, Lowe’s, Circuit City,, and the ads for Pope Paul the second coins, Dachshunds painted on plates and Classic Comfort bras (“so comfortable you’ll forget you’ve got it on”….WHAT?) Personally, I do keep the Walgreens’ section, as Walgreens is the only store that I would actually come across in my wanderings. I suffer from the ‘if it’s not in the Quarter do I really need it’ syndrome.
Next, my favorite to get rid of (though possibly not yours): Sports. As far as I’m concerned, any part of the paper that bandies about words like ‘dominating’, ‘trouncing’, ‘dousing with a powerful surge’, ‘pounding’, ‘shutting down’ and ‘annihilation’ along with ads for muscle cars, penile enlargement, and the Hustler Honey Amateur Contest better be in color and show blood or frontal nudity. And while we’re at it, why is baseball, basketball and football season happening simultaneously?
Next to get the axe is the Parade section with the cover boasting The 2003 Cars & Trucks, the inside answers the burning question of whether Roy Rogers Jr. had to sell his daddy’s saddle to pay the IRS, I’m presently not in the market for a minature ceramic St Nicholas, Laugh Parade doesn’t give me a chuckle and the last time I bought five books for ninety nine cents I received junk mail until I had to relocate. It is interesting to note that gas guzzlers in this time of the oil wars, come with twenty inch aluminum wheels, leather bucket seats, navigation systems and optional DVD entertainment systems; all for about twice or three times my yearly salary!
Real Estate? “This exquisite Country French home showcases wood flrs. Gourmet kit. 4 bdrm 3 ba 1+ acre, Spacious living & magnificent views for the price of a small South American country.”
Jobs? Classified? ‘Split shift, exp necc. Drug test, 6days/week, now hiring, apply in person, EEO/AAP, M/F, call Lisa or Amy: M-F 8am-4pm, 401K and hospitalization’. Do I want to be a Buggy Driver, Associate Professor of General Surgery, Legal Secretary/ Exp Line Cook that much? Nah, and most of us already have jobs we don’t want.
TV Focus? I don’t have cable, I’m a PBS junkie, end of story.
Comics? I read ‘em all. Especially Peanuts, Garfield and Doonesbury. After that Zits, Mother Goose and Grimm, B.C. and Rose is Rose. Generally I find it hard to be amused, but it’s better than the News. Why is the Piranha Club banished to the week day Classified section?? Now that I can relate to!
The Money section? If money were dynamite I wouldn’t be able to blow my nose.
The main News section? Reading it is rarely rewarding and generally reminds me of an Adlai Stevenson quote: “There is nothing more horrifying than stupidity in action”. In a nutshell Edwards is still out, the War’s still on, Louisiana ranks worst on everything, and we’ll never be prepared for ‘The Big One’.
That leaves the Travel, Living and Dead (Metro) sections.
The Travel section had an article on the Natchez Trace that I’d love to hike. It also had cut rate ads for going anywhere and the book section which had the first three best sellers touting “After her husband leaves her for a younger woman, a fourteen year old looks down from heaven when the young caretaker of an estate finds a newborn girl in a box. A 45 year-old woman finds romance in a small town on the North Carolina coast as she describes what happens in the aftermath of her kidnapping and murder, his employer, an 80 year-old matriarch, helps him keep the baby”, (but not in that order).
The ‘Dead’ section, or Metro as it’s called, will, more often than not, give you a cheery front page on Sunday. Monday thru will give you mostly the details on how New Orleaneans are brutalizing each other or the real horrors of living here. Yes from a man shot twenty five times and living to a seven year old being murdered in the street by his mother’s boyfriend.
However on Sunday, it’s mostly cheery stuff on the cover. Once inside we have pregnant woman steals man’s truck (at gunpoint), N.O. man arrested in shooting of woman (get this, he shot her because she was smoking while pregnant), 3 men wanted on burglary warrants, asbestos in the air, roll over car crashes and the like; also we have the death notices.
Frankly, I read the death notices because I’m sure that one day I’ll see my picture in there. I simply do not trust myself to tell me when I die, and as for my friends, hah, they keep me in the dark about everything!
I do know from reading the obituaries that a large percentage of eighty to ninety year old corpses once were homemakers or retired merchant seamen. Fifty to sixty year olds die usually of heart attacks or cancer, the men were all veterans and the women had promising careers. The Forty year olds usually succumb to lung cancer or heart ‘failure’ or the mysterious undetermined causes. In their twenties and thirties, violence usually accounts for mostly sudden demises especially if their nick names are ‘Boom Boom’, ‘Big Man’, ‘Slick’ or ‘Fast Betty’. If politics continue their merry way, I predict young folks in uniform appearing. Children are the saddest to read about and we won’t go into that one here.
Lastly the Living section: entertainment, horror-scopes and puzzles. After the Comics, it’s my favorite. Dave Barry is here, my personal hero as well as advice from Carolyn, Abby and Miss Manners. A calendar of events and photos from the past live in this section.
In all, the newspaper is a nice place to visit with its horrors and heroes, and if I had more room I’d wax eternal. Look for me on Halloween and if you don’t give me candy, I’ll probably tell you to “read my hips!”

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