ABOUT TOWN

Brad Goins Friday, February 7, 2014 0
ABOUT TOWN

— From Clovis the Cat comes word that the Hobo Hotel for Cats and Kittens is seeking donations of art works by Lake Area artists. These local works of art are needed for the Sweet Art Silent Auction that will take place at the Imperial Calcasieu Museum in Lake Charles on Saturday, Feb. 15 from 11 am to 2 pm.
The free auction, which is a fundraising event for Hobo Hotel, will feature local artists’ paintings, prints, photographs, pottery, jewelry and woodwork. As for the “sweet” part of the auction, that’s the cakes, pies, cookie trays and desserts from local bakeries and home bakers that will be auctioned in addition to the art.
Proceeds will provide Hobo Hotel’s feline residents with food, shelter, medicine and the everyday supplies they need until they’re adopted.
To donate your art or baked sweets to the Sweet Art Silent Auction, email hobohotelnews@yahoo.com or drop off your donation at the shelter Monday through Saturday during adoption hours. The deadline is Feb. 7.
Hobo Hotel is a non-kill cat and kitten shelter. For more info, to volunteer or to adopt a pet, contact the adoption center at 439-2428 or visit Facebook.com/HoboHotelForCats or HoboHotelForCats.com.
The Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society unveiled markers at the sites of three of the area’s “Lost Landmarks” on Jan. 30. The the marker at the site of Ball’s Auditorium was unveiled at the intersection of Enterprise Boulevard Extension and St. John Street. Markers were also unveiled at the site of the Majestic Hotel (corner of Bilbo and Pujo) and at the site of the former Arcade and Paramount Theaters as well as the Miller and Weber Buildings (in the 800 block of Ryan Street).
As we haven’t been able to preserve these structures that are so important to the history of local commercial architecture, it’s all the more important that we give special recognition to the places where they once stood.
Groups and individuals who have worked and will work on this important project include the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, the Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana, the City of Lake Charles, the Downtown Development Authority, Empire of the Seed and Rick and Donna Richard. The markers were custom made of cast metal by the Southwell Foundry.
The markers are part of the “Lost Landmarks heritage education program” of the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society. The program is made possible by a grant from the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau as administered by the Arts Council.

Accountability Isn’t Learning
I probably shouldn’t trouble readers with the news that Louisiana is once again ranked No. 49 on Education Week’s list of the quality of education in the 50 states. If you’ve lived here any time at all, you’ve become accustomed to this story.
But this time around, Education Week mentioned some specifics of Louisiana Education I thought readers might finding intriguing. For one thing, in spite of Louisiana’s abominable overall ranking, Education Week gave the state’s educational system an A for accountability.
I’d think that should constitute pretty strong evidence that teacher accountability, which is a politician’s idea, has nothing whatsoever to do with what students learn. In fact, nobody in the Legislation will notice the evidence. But it’s there all the same.
Politicians aren’t teachers, they haven’t been teachers, they don’t come from a teaching background and they don’t know anything about teaching. They don’t know that accountability — whatever that is — does nothing more than ensure that teachers have to fill out a big stack of pointless bureaucratic forms during their work day. Politicians won’t ever figure out that their insistence on accountability will never make readers out of students whose parents go from one year to the next without ever picking up a book.
Let’s hope politicians never think of the notion of accountability for journalists. You think the news is bad now …

What’s The Hold-Up?
What’s the best way to get Louisiana to move up in the education rankings? That’s easy. The best way is to cut the budgets of Louisiana schools. We’ve been doing that for five solid years now. We really should be quite a bit higher than 49 by now.

The News
“Former pro soccer player makes his ‘Bachelor’ debut”
— USA Today, Jan. 7; the No. 5 headline in Google’s U.S. News

When Silly News Is Kind Of Serious
“Unplug from technology and have an intellectual conversation with your pet”
— Tweeted by SF Moma, Jan. 8
At first glance, the above headline sounded whimsical, confusing and at least potentially silly.
But as soon as I clicked the link, I knew there was something to the story.
I saw a photo of a young man reading from the notoriously difficult philosophy book A Thousand Plateaus by Gilles Deleuze and talking to his dog while he was reading. Under the photo, the fellow’s wife had written “My husband talking to my dog about dissonance and repetition.”
Turns out an artist named Charles Garoian is undertaking an “art action” that “suggests that you engage in an intellectual conversation with your pets.”
It’s the word “conversation” that throws me. This artist probably means to use “conversation” in the sort of way Yoko Ono would use it — that is, you talk to your dog and — who knows — the dog might talk back or you could imagine what he would say if he talked back or you might wind up saying some really insightful and articulate stuff: stuff that, perhaps, your dog picks up on in some weird way or another.
I just like the photo of the guy talking to his dog while he reads Deleuze. I think it’s even more fun than the exciting news that the People’s Choice Awards still exist.

Silliest Ever? Maybe.
I don’t want to rush into any rash decisions. But I’m thinking about declaring the following headline the silliest of all time.
“Miguel Cotto looked unhappy sitting next to Michelle Rodriquez at the Knicks games” — USA Today, Jan. 8
That sounded so very insubstantial and inconsequential I really felt driven to look up the story. It showed a series of photos of Michelle Rodriquez — the young star of the art house film series Fast and Furious — with an even younger model, Cara Delevigne. The two were, in fact, sitting next to Miguel Cotto, whoever that is.
Judging from the three photos that made up the story, the two young women were acting the way young people act. Not much news there. Judging from one photo, Michelle may or may not have kissed or tried to kiss Cara. Judging from the photos, Cotto might have been unhappy about the acting out or he might simply have been concentrating on the game — impossible to tell.
Back in the day, if a news photographer had brought work as banal as this into the office, his editor would have barked at him, “Hey bolthead — you bring back another set of shots like this and the next time you cover a basketball game, you’ll be photographing basketball players.”

Goins Home Center Of Polar Vortex
It all started when I heard some loud banging in the laundry room. I was afraid I might be the victim of poltergeist activity. When I got in the room, it turned out to be much worse.
The washer and dryer were bouncing off the walls like tennis balls. The room was filled by a large, dark swirling wind that looked like a small tornado. Temperatures were painfully cold. Each breath I took crystallized as it left my mouth, and my lips were covered with frost.
Something told me this wasn’t just a household problem; this felt like an international crisis. Closing the laundry room door as best I could, I called the National Guard, the Pentagon, the White House and the Meteorological Dept. at Stanford University.
Sure enough, the powers that be flew in an emergency team that was headed by National Guard Gen. Frank Grass and Stanford’s Nobel Prize-winning meteorology scholar Joseph Kosuth, backed up by several hundred soldiers.
As the soldiers and scientists milled through the house, Kosuth told me to prepare for some bad stuff. “It’s just as I suspected, Mr. Goins,” he said. “This is very bad. In fact, it’s the worst. You have a polar vortex in your laundry room.”
“A polar vortex?” I asked. “But this isn’t a polar region. Shouldn’t it be called a subtropical vortex or something?”
“No, you see, Mr. Goins, that’s the whole problem,” said Kosuth. “It is a polar vortex, but it’s not where it should be. As a result, it constitutes a sort of anti-vortex, if you will, whose strong gravitational pull has altered the tilt of the earth’s rotation. As a result, the south pole is now in Bossier City and the north pole is, we think, anyway, somewhere in Mongolia. If we don’t eliminate your polar vortex, Mr. Goins, all life on earth will freeze to death in exactly 3 hours, 43 minutes and 17 seconds.”
You better believe it was serious stuff. After a few phone calls to the president, the scientists and military worked out a way to route the entire power supplies of Houston, Austin, Atlanta, New Orleans and Holmwood through the ground wire of my dryer for 1/10,000th of a second. With only 7 seconds left on the countdown clock, the polar vortex disappeared from my laundry room. Soon, the house was warm enough that I could make jalapeno poppers in the microwave. I shouldn’t have bothered. Kosuth scarfed them all down before I even had a chance to offer any to Chuck Hagel. Dudes think because they save the world it’s OK for them to be food hogs.
You’d think that with stuff like this going on, there’d be a brisk demand for end-of-the-world insurance. But I’ve spent all day on the Intraweb and haven’t found a single policy being offered. It’s enough to make me just give up the search and take my chances.