Lost Worlds

Brad Goins Wednesday, August 20, 2014 0
Lost Worlds

The 1911 City Hall Arts & Cultural Center is putting on so many art exhibits, I’m losing track of them. The one I’m about to describe — “Lost Worlds: Ruins of the Americas” — had flown under my radar somehow. I wanted to make sure readers knew about it.

Upfront

The exhibit will include photographs of “significant ruins in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America.” These are said to form a “visual narrative of the cultures, conflicts and conquests that forged the New World,” and a visual record of “the geographical, architectural and historical diversity that defines the Americas.”

The images come from a project for which Arthur Drooker photographed 33 ruins in 16 countries over a 3-year period. Among the buildings Drooker documented are Incan fortresses in Peru, Mayan pyramids in Mexico and a colonial city in Panama sacked by pirates.

Drooker’s digital infrared camera gave the images an “elegiac beauty and inherent mystery.”

If you’re part of the growing “abandoned places” movement, as I am, you’ll want to see this show and take in the mystery inherent in images of abandoned places — especially those that are full of historical and mystical significance. Even the name of this exhibit is a little mysterious.

 

But I’m The Conservative!

Louisiana politics always produces shockers, and this hot summer of 2014 is no exception. Readers were stunned to learn late in the month of July that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s attempts to gain nationwide recognition are failing. Can you believe it? That’s certainly the first we’ve heard that.

Stephanie Grace reported for the Daily Advocate that in a new poll of Republican voters nationwide, Jindal finished 10th in name recognition. If there’s a way to make those results sound like good news, I don’t know it.

If Jindal wants to become known nationally, maybe he should get some tips from former Gov. Edwin Edwards. According to Grace, recent weeks have seen the appearance of stories on Edwards in New York magazine, the National Journal and even the Weekly Standard, which, as a rule, only interviews conservatives.

Why is the Weekly Standard calling up Edwin Edwards instead of the Louisiana governor who would love to rule the U.S. as its No. 1 conservative? I suspect Jindal is asking himself that question a lot more often than I am.

 

Sweet!

Way over in Los Angeles, LSU was in trouble — over a sweetener. A California company — Quest — filed suit against LSU, arguing that Quest consulted with LSU researchers about a Quest sweetener only to see the LSU people apply for a patent for the sweetener.

The judge agreed with LSU in this round, ruling that the case belonged in state court (and not in federal court in L.A.).

The whole thing sounds almost eerily similar to the great business expose The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald. In that book, Archer Daniels Midland is caught trying to clone bacteria used by a Japanese company to make corn sweetener. The story spins into a wildly surreal but absolutely true tale about befuddled FBI investigators, a  grandiose informant who loves to withhold information, Japanese executives who work the waters of business like barracudas, and American business executives who couldn’t be trusted with a book of wet matches.

You may have seen Matt Damon’s hilarious performance in the movie version of The Informant. But do read the book, as a lot of really good stuff was left out of the movie.

 

It’s only because of the similarity to The Informant that I write about this LSU story. And it’s only because of this Up Front reportage of the LSU sweetener controversy that this story hasn’t been placed in that great big file of “I don’t care” stories that’s located wherever it’s located.

 

It’s Not The Big Bang Theory, But …

It’s not the Big Bang Theory, but it sure sounds like it. I recently read the book Uncertainty: Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr And The Struggle for the Soul of Science by physicist David Lindley. On page 92, I found this hilarious passage:

One day, [physicist Wolfgang] Pauli recalled, he was stumping about the streets when a friend came across him and said he looked glum. “How can one be happy when one is thinking about the anomalous Zeeman effect?” Pauli responded smartly, and went on his way.

 

Biggest Typo Ever

The same book reports that in 1923, famous physicist Niels Bohr made his first lecture tour of the U.S. The venerable New York Times certainly thought the story was important enough to report. But it apparently didn’t think that Bohr’s first name — which the Times said was “Nils” — was important enough to spell correctly.

Maybe the Times editorial staff was on vacation in the previous year, 1922, when Bohr won the Nobel Prize for physics.

 

Where O Where Has My Job Security Gone?

Almost up to the moment I wrote this piece, I figured that if you worked for Microsoft you had job security. You might not like your job, but at least you weren’t going to lose it. Unless you were just grossly unproductive, you had your job for just as long as you wanted it. After all, if there was one thing Microsoft was never going to have do, that was downsize.

The news came to me from NBC on July 17. Microsoft will cut 14 percent of its work force in the next year.

Hose me Agnes. I guess we better get ready to start reading about jobs being cut at Intel, Apple, Google and Facebook — all those places where they never fire anybody because they’re always too busy hiring.

So where can you find job security? Apparently you find it at exactly the same place where you find brand new AMC and Oldsmobile cars.

 

2 Glock 9s An’ A Maple Bar

Let us travel now to the tranquil, affluent suburb of Portland named Hillsboro, where, hard as it is to believe, residents are dealing with a new kind of gang activity. Pastry gang activity.

The Associate Press reports that youths in Hillsboro have been hitting cars and houses with pastries. Maple bars seem to be a particular favorite. Although pastries are the weapon of favor for these new innovative Gs, foods as diverse as yogurt and potato salad have been used in the new wave of vandalism.

It’s obvious this is an affluent area, because young gangbangers are using expensive snack foods as weapons instead of eating them. I think I can safely assure you that even in the most gang-ridden neighborhood of north Portland, if the guys in colors came upon a box of maple bars, they would eat them, not throw them.

Police theorize the Hillsboro vandalism is being undertaken by very young people who are choosing their targets at random.

The best thing about this curious news story is that it’s given Hillsboro Police Lt. Mike Rouches an opportunity to say what is surely one of the most hilarious statements of 2014 thus far: “In my 25 years in police services, I have never investigated or seen a criminal mischief involving pastries.”

 

Meth Style Check, Please!

WWLTV in New Orleans recently reported that in some place called Golden Meadow in Louisiana a police officer, a girlfriend and his brother were arrested for their involvement in a meth lab.

What bugs me so much about this major news story is that not one of the three perps has the meth look. Judging from the mug shots, everyone’s teeth seem to be intact. I don’t see a single facial lesion or sore. These people looked like the sorts who would do a dermatologist proud.

There’s nothing like a poor urban fashion statement in these mug shots. In fact, I’d be reluctant to hang out with people who look this good for fear they’d make me look shoddy.

How can I explain such idyllic appearances in Louisiana meth heads? I can’t. Maybe I need to watch more episodes of Breaking Bad or something.

Here’s all I ask. If I have to read about a Louisiana meth lab bust every five minutes (and I do), I don’t think it’s too much for me to ask for perps who look the part. Do I have to use my valuable news-gathering time trolling Tumblr for “meth look Louisiana?”

 

A Bolder Louisiana Fashion Statement

Speaking of fashion statements, there was a big one the other day, when Music Academy Success Corp. gave the Acadiana Music School an award for being the “best private music school in the country.”

upfront2

The big story here is that one of the five Academy people who showed up for the awards picture didn’t let the vast significance of this honor prevent him from dressing like a true Louisiana homeboy. He appeared in a wife beater complemented by a backwards gimme cap and a pair of shorts created by a pair of scissors.

One of the group of five did manage to put on a tie for the photo.

So … what do you think brought the most honor to Louisiana on this occasion: the wifebeater; the slogan “America No. 1” with the picture of the bald eagle; or the lack of ties? It’s a tough call, brother; a very tough call.

The judge agreed with LSU in this round, ruling that the case belonged in state court (and not in federal court in L.A.).

The whole thing sounds almost eerily similar to the great business expose The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald. In that book, Archer Daniels Midland is caught trying to clone bacteria used by a Japanese company to make corn sweetener. The story spins into a wildly surreal but absolutely true tale about befuddled FBI investigators, a  grandiose informant who loves to withhold information, Japanese executives who work the waters of business like barracudas, and American business executives who couldn’t be trusted with a book of wet matches.

You may have seen Matt Damon’s hilarious performance in the movie version of The Informant. But do read the book, as a lot of really good stuff was left out of the movie.

 

It’s only because of the similarity to The Informant that I write about this LSU story. And it’s only because of this Up Front reportage of the LSU sweetener controversy that this story hasn’t been placed in that great big file of “I don’t care” stories that’s located wherever it’s located.