Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Idiot D'Avril

In April, big stuff is in the works; eddies (Eddy’s?)  in the wash, as they say. First, Leon Galatoire is closing his restaurant citing that: “it was all in my imagination, to begin with”. Also, as Hollywood has exercised Eminent Domain over the city, it has taken over the new medical complex and renamed it Middle Earth, Lafitte Corridor has been paved in yellow bricks and you will now find Jack Sparrow the new mayor of the municipality of The French Quarter, with his own security force of buccaneers, brigands and bandits. Jackie Clarkson has responded by saying “Same as it ever was”.
            Next: The Mayor, in his quest for a more organic New Orleans has invited all citizens to put their compost in any pot hole that they find in the streets, killing two birds with one olfacticiously fusty stone. Also, he is relocating Parish Prison to the old Charity Hospital building with the kind folks from the Krishna Temple running the food operations and the inmates will be made to wear Indian garb and participate in their services. “Six months of chanting and curry and these guys will be scared straight, I betcha” quipped Hizzona. The elevators will be continually in motion and used for solitary confinement.
            The Sheriff will then designate the old prison as an SPCA shelter and the old SPCA spot will be used to house anyone convicted of defacing public property.
            Times Picayune headline “We’re sorry New Orleans, please take us back!”
            The Governor had deputized all Louisiana citizens and we are all now allowed to stop policemen and ask what they’re up to and frisk them if we see fit; also it is now our duty to give tickets to any meter maid that we see parked in a hotel lobby or coffee shop, especially if they’re on their cell phones. We’re also allowed to give tickets to illegally parked police cars and reprimand any officer that is out of shape or smoking.
            In the world of electronics devices: parents can now download an app called STFU. When a minor has used their tweeter, texter or cell device for more than ten minutes in any one hour, John Goodman’s voice will blast out “Shut The F**k Up!!!” and then deliver a three minute harangue on the subject of how nobody really wants to know what they are thinking, saying or doing.
            The State has now opened a new source of revenue called the Department of Non-motorized Vehicles (DNV); meaning all riders of bicycles and skateboards must be licensed and carry insurance that includes OnStar homing devices for those non-vehicles that go “missing”; roller skates will be excepted. The good part is that only drivers will now be insured, because: how many vehicles can you drive at one time?
            In other news, Flo from Progressive Insurance is giving a $900.00 rebate each year for anyone who drives in New Orleans to cover the cost of replacing the shocks on their cars as we all need to do annually.
            In the race for mayor this year, Mitch’s closest contender is a man named Ignatius J. Reilly who’s platform harkens back to a time when this city was “famous for its gamers, prostitutes, exhibitionists, antichrists, alcoholics, sodomites, drug addicts, fetishists, onanists, pornographers, frauds, jades, jitterbugs and lesbians ,all of whom are only too well protected by graft.” Unfortunately there are too few of us left that remember those glory days to form quorum enough to shoe him in; but, it’s the thought that counts.
            The New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) has announced four additions to its curriculum: Burlesque, Vaudeville, Street Hustling and that thing called ‘Stupid Cute’ all of which we know are art forms. Guest instructors will include Trixie Minx, The Bingo Show, various talk show hosts and, of course, the guys that work Decatur Street .
            The Emperor of Carnival has imposed new music restrictions for next year: there will be a hefty fine for any band or person playing” Little Liza Jane”, “Feet Can’t Fail Me Now” or, “Na-Na-Na-Na  Hey-hey-hey Goodbye”. These tunes will be replaced by “Willie and the Hand Jive”, “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Miss Me Blind” also, anyone playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” will be required to sit, observe twenty minutes of silence and think about it.
            The Department of Safety and Permits has now declared that any business offering go cups be licensed to do so and, there will be a consumer deposit on any take out container, cup or other conveyance/convenience/container that has hitherto-fore been considered landfill. The more unnecessary the container (Hand Grenades, Huge Ass Beer cups and any Styrofoam) the higher the deposit.  The head of the Vieux Carre Commission was quoted: “Homeless people will now have a source of income from Bourbon Street alone”. Also, required licensing is in the works for anyone making their living on public streets: hustlers, shoe shiners, tap dancers, beggars, card readers and inferior art entrepreneurs will be targeted first; musicians (even amateurs) will not be subjected.
            A move to reintroduce African Americans back into the Treme is afoot as Black neighborhoods across the country become more and more endangered. Second lines, as well as any music club where the minimum drinking age is at least thirty-five years will no longer need permits and food trucks (pickups included) will get the city’s blessing. The Claiborne overpass will be demolished before any more parking citations are issued (watch how fast they pull that sucker down!).
            The new Louisiana State bird is now the fried chicken, the State flag will be the Jolly Roger, and the State bean, wine and berry is now red, white and blue. The State motto is now: “April Fools!”


Saturday, January 4, 2014

March a la Mode

March A la Mode


Spring Ahead

Well Carnival was BIG fun, huh? However, once your head clears, this’ll remind you again and again about how special the whole month of March is, so don’t lose it. An extra hour of day light, TWFest, Saint Patrick’s, the first day of Spring and just the pure joy of being alive and above ground. And now, yes now, I’ll tell you about my favorite day of March: Pi (PIE) Day! The date is 3/14 and guess what happens? Weird folks like me make pies to share. Word up--- I don’t make pies for everyone--- I make one for home, one for work and one for the Usual Suspects at my favorite watering hole and eatery: Liuzza’s By The Track.

            What kinds of pies and who are the Usual Suspects and where do I work? Whoa, whoa, one thing at a time. Let’s start with pi and what the heck that is.

            The number π is a mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter and is approximately equal to 3.141592653589...etc.  It has been calculated to 100 billion decimals by someone who had nothing better to do and probably got paid to do it. It has been represented by the Greek letter "π" since the mid-18th century, though it is also sometimes Romanized as "pi"

 Being an irrational number, π cannot be expressed exactly as a ratio of any two integers (fractions such as 22/7 are commonly used to approximate π, but no fraction can be its exact value). Consequently, its decimal representation never ends and never settles into a permanent repeating pattern. The life of pi. Pie as we know it. Innocuous, mysterious, implausible, irresistible and did you know that pi was invented so that you could measure the circumference of your pizza?

 It’s also used in navigation for global positioning (GPS); signal processing and spectrum analysis (finding out what frequencies are in the wave you are using) uses pi since the fundamental period of a sine wave is 2*pi; solving problems for electrical applications; tracking population dynamics; studying the structure of the eye; understand the structure/function of DNA, designing pendulums for clocks, to calculate areas of the skin of an aircraft and for fitting felines for fedoras. (?) Blah, blah, blah.

            I’m sure at this point you’d rather stop reading about  π ’s and maybe go a little into the subject of tarts; well, hang on, big feller, this is a family column and we don’t play tarts on this page (see further on to the back pages for tarts). Right now we’re going to move along into PIES and like it.

            As you know a pie is a round thingy with at least one crust that has been baked and has a filling; fruit; cream; meringue; pot. Pie. So the thing you have to ask is: what kind of pie should I make and do I feel lucky?

There’s a 1967 song by Jay & the Techniques: “Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie”--- is there such a pie? — I wouldn’t know if it’s conceivable to put all three of those ingredients into one pie. It’s beyond my comprehension and I doubt that it would taste all that fantablous; therefore, I’ll make one of each while singing along with that catchy ditty: a pumpkin pecan, a peach streusel and a latticed brandied apple pie. It will surprise everyone because not many people know that I can bake and I’ll be asking each one what the circumferences are since I won’t be making any pie (that) are square.

As for the rest of the information requested: my work takes up most of my life; writing for this esteemed magazine; co-owning a French Quarter cookbook shop AND two nights a week behind the bar at Café Maspero on Decatur Street.

Maspero’s is a world of its own, in fact, its own microcosm. Once you’re inside those swinging doors, you’re transported to another place in time where food comes hot from the kitchen in people size portions, beverages are reasonably priced and the staff is extremely down to earth. They’re busy enough to have a line out the door at times but you can bypass that and head right for the bar to eat and be chatted up. I first went there as a customer and liked it so much I requested a job there (and got one!) and for that I am thankful.

My living accommodations are in Faubourg St. John; it’s like a little town, in fact, it’s the greatest little town in the world. I don’t want you to move there because the rents are going up enough as it is. The neighborhood has everything that I need, especially Liuzza’s By The Track. Y’all know Liuzza’s from Jazz Fest because it is ground zero for before and after (and during) the Fest-ivities and all the knowledgeable Fest Heads meet there. I get to go all year long. Besides having terrific food and staff, they, watch Jeopardy at six, stay open for Saints games, the kitchen closes at seven and I can get home at a reasonable hour. Everyone should have a steady place to rest their elbows and tilt a few; Liuzza’s is a perfect fit for me and my gal. Also, there is a regular crew of comrades (at least twenty come to mind) both honest and true that while hours away while Jimmy the owner looks on fondly and the lovelies behind the bar keep the joint as orderly comfortable as possible under whatever circumstances that may prevail. I hope they all like my pies on 3/14!

            My other favorite days of the year? The 32nd of May, The 3rd of September, the 12th of never, and 4/20. Guess why.