Sometimes I have to dig pretty deep into my Twitter feed to find some Up Front-worthy Louisiana news. But it’s there. One morning, just as I was about to go Twitter-free, I came across a remarkable story from the prestigious Daily Advertiser of Lafayette.
You remember Lafayette. It’s supposed to be the sophisticated, artsy city in Louisiana.
Imagine, then, my surprise when I read what was virtually a journalistic love poem to Dustin Poirier, a mixed martial “artist” from Lafayette. The Advertiser’s Kristin Askelson wrote Poirier “is giving back to his hometown again,” and is “putting his money where his heart is.” Furthermore, “he’ll continue to look for ways he can give back to the community he loves.”
My goodness! How is this god among men “giving back”? Well, he’s going to give the beautiful and illustrious Cité des Arts the proceeds from an auction of his “bloody shorts.”
Yes, you read it right. The fighter’s great gift to his shining City on a Hill is a blood-soaked pair of shorts.
Why bloody shorts? Well, as The Advertiser explained, “Poirier opened a gash in [opponent Anthony] Pettis’ head that unleashed a torrent of blood that covered both fighters.”
Ugh. Gross much? The people in Lafayette may be artsy. But they apparently have a stronger stomach than most artsy people. I mean, I’d get a little queasy if I read nothing stronger than that someone had sold a pair of sweat-soaked leotards for my city. But “bloody shorts”?
There’s nothing wrong with Poirier’s charitable intentions. He’ll use the money from the auction of the shorts to benefit the relatives of Lafayette Police Cpl. Michael Middlebrook, who was recently killed in the line of duty. As the auction neared its end, bids for the shorts were approaching $6,000.
The story here isn’t about Poirier. The story here — the freaky and weird story — is the way The Advertiser reporter gushes over a pair of bloody shorts and a bloody gash in someone’s head.
Of course, it would have been fine to report simply that a pair of shorts — or even just athletic equipment — was being auctioned. Geez. Get your class back, Lafayette.
Well, There Is Some Nonsense Here
The last time I wrote about John Kennedy, new U.S. senator from Louisiana, he was telling the people in a congressional hearing that Lindsay Lohan has a problem drinking. (Speaking of controversial behaviors by the company Equifax, Kennedy said, “You realize … that looks like we’re giving Lindsay Lohan the keys to the mini-bar.” No word yet on whether Lohan will sue Kennedy for libel. She did say he was a “jerk” and wondered aloud whether he was growing “senile.”)
So, has Kennedy learned to keep that thing closed? No such. Kennedy still needs to do some heavy practicing of those think-before-you-speak skills. His latest Up Front-worthy comment goes: “If you try to design a more irrational immigration program than the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, you couldn’t do it. It’s stupid. It’s nonsense on a stick.”
I’m sorry, John, but I’m afraid we’re going to have to do quite a bit of unpacking on that one. Now, John, you start off by using the present tense of the verb — “if you try.” If you’re going to start with the present tense, surely you know you’re making a mistake if you follow with the conditional tense — “you couldn’t.” You are using an incorrect sequence of verb tenses. You could have said “if you try … you can’t do it” or “if you had tried … you couldn’t do it.” But when you say it the way you said it, John, well, you’re at risk of giving the public the impression that you may not be extraordinarily sharp. Some of us sort of had that idea when you were in Louisiana. You certainly don’t want folks in D.C. to get the same idea.
But, John, I’m sorry to say that I think there’s an even bigger problem with what you said — a problem that was big enough to draw the attention of a lot of smart-aleck commentators around the country. I’m talking about the mixed metaphor you used — namely, “nonsense on a stick.”
John, you and I are never going to find a better example of what makes mixed metaphors such a horrible idea. Let’s break it down. Part of your metaphor is “a stick.” We can all clearly visualize a stick. We can easily imagine what it looks like. But what about the rest of the metaphor: “nonsense”? What does nonsense look like? Have we seen it before? Is nonsense an animal, vegetable or mineral? Is it bigger than a bread box?
Why am I asking such silly questions? We can’t get a mental picture of nonsense because nonsense is a concept, not a thing. Nonsense has no appearance. It doesn’t look like anything. So, to say “nonsense on a stick” is the same as saying “nothing on a stick” or “something we can’t see on a stick” or “a stick.”
Do you follow me, John? If you want to talk in public, you should first make sure you know how to do it. I recommend asking someone in the Dept. of Ed. to get you an English textbook for the 7th or 8th grade. Read the book word for word. And do all the exercises!
As for others in the Louisiana delegation, Congressman Clay Higgins hasn’t said anything incorrect or silly in recent weeks (at least as far as I know). But I think there’s still room for improvement. When Higgins recently spoke about what many call “tax reform,” he said, “More money in the pockets of working Americans shouldn’t be a partisan issue … It’s a win for the middle-class.”
Now, those are just hypotheses. Different people feel different ways about them. I know how I feel about them.
What got my attention was another part of Higgins’ comments: “the American people aren’t stupid.” Again, there’s nothing wrong about that. But it is a political saw; a cliché; something that politicians say over and over again. Why try to avoid such a thing? Well, when a politician uses an old political saw, it makes him seem as if he doesn’t have an answer to the question at hand. He’s just trying to get out of a jam by falling back on a catch phrase.
Again, it’s not a matter of the validity of the statement. Of course it goes without saying that the American people aren’t stupid. The American people are a great big flock of super-geniuses. We all know that. Instead of using a cliché to say it, it sounds better to say something original — like, “Hey, if the American people are smart enough to know what the perfect tense of a verb is, who Moliere was and where Angkor Wat is, they’re certainly smart enough to figure out something as simple as ‘tax reform.’ Duh!”
Fun Isn’t Pretty
I want to send out a special note of thanks to Fox29 Lake Charles for informing me of the existence of the “candy cane eyeliner.” Although I’m sure I would never have imagined such a thing if I’d lived 10 centuries, there is, in fact, right now, a candy cane eyeliner in existence. And it looks exactly as you’d expect it to look based on its name.
The link in the Fox story led to a “beauty” article by one Bridget Sharkey. Sharkey emphasized that the eyeliner would be perfect for “ugly sweater parties,” which I guess was her way of saying the eyeliner was both ugly and gaudy (without actually using those words). But the word she used most often to describe the eyeliner was “fun.” Well, that’s no stretch. What’s considered “fun” often looks ugly and gaudy to me.
There was other info in Sharkey’s column that made me dubious about the quality of her fashion consciousness. She said that wearing gold leaf on the ends of one’s nails is a “holiday beauty boost.” And about the “matte look” on real or fake nails that are more than an inch long, Shaffer said “so pretty.”
So this is the sort of thing that’s both fun and pretty? Is there any way I can read a story about some stuff that’s not fun and is just kind of plain-looking? I know there are some women in Lake Charles whose nails are just nails. That knowledge will give me the boost I need to make it through the season without a visit to the nail salon.
Who Should I Mourn Today?
On the day Charles Manson died, the American Press made a Twitter Post that consisted of a line from an L.A. Times story: “Today, Manson’s victims are the ones who should be remembered and mourned on the occasion of his death.”
That being the case, I looked up the names of Wojciech Frykowski, Donald Shea and Leno LaBianca. I spent the entire day immersed in deep mourning of these long-deceased people whose names I had not known the day before. There was great keening and wailing on my part; I tore my garments, threw dirt (from the carpet) onto my hair and engaged in other mourning behaviors that caused some of the staff to complain most vigorously.
But I wasn’t worried about the complaining. I know that because of what I did, the name of Wojciech Frykowski shall not perish from the earth.
I, for one, am grateful that the president and the media are always telling us when we need to “mourn” complete strangers. I mean, it goes without saying that we never have anything or anyone to mourn in our personal lives. It’s not as if we ever spend months or years mourning the loss of a relative, spouse, job, friend or pet. Let’s face it — if it weren’t for politicians and media figures, we’d never be blessed with the experience of mourning.
James Karst, senior editor of the Times-Picayune, prides himself on presenting the public with obscure Louisiana news and information. The other day, he reproduced a 1958 ad for N.O.’s Famous Claiborne and Elysian Fields. In that ancient year, Dr. John was already performing on stage — but under the name Mac “Spider Boy” Rebennack. On this particular 1958 night, Spider Boy was the feature act for Leonard James and his Loafer Orchestra.
Of even greater interest was the appearance of the duo of Zsa Zsa Gabor and Ferlin Husky. The two were presenting a show titled — believe it or not — “Country Music Holiday.” Wonder why Zsa Zsa never broke out into any yodels on Green Acres.
As for Dr. John’s early nickname “Spider Boy,” the middle name it stood in for was “John.” And as for the Dr. John persona that followed, and his seminal Gris Gris album, the Doctor tells this tale:
“Well, there was a guy by the name of Dr. John, a hoodoo guy in New Orleans. He was competition to Marie Laveau. He was like her opposite. I actually got a clipping … about how my great-great-great-grandpa Wayne was busted with this guy for runnin’ a voodoo operation in a whorehouse in 1860. I decided I would produce the record with this as a concept.”
If the original Dr. John was as complex and multi-layered as the album Gris Gris, he must indeed have been “a hoodoo guy.”
The Louisiana News
On Nov. 15, The Shreveport Times posted six consecutive stories about sports. Only one story — a piece on LSU quarterback Danny Eting’s back injury — concerned Louisiana. The other stories were about the SEC, a Buffalo Bills quarterback, an L.A. Rams quarterback, former coach Joe Gruden and the athletics director at Arkansas.
Well, golly. What if the Shreveport Times should happen to run out of sports stories about this and that one day? Hey — I just thought of something. When I was in my last year in junior high, I caught a touchdown pass. Reckon any Louisiana news outlet would want to do a story on that? Just in case, I’m free for interviews 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
“Inside Kim K’s very pink baby shower” — CNN headline, Nov. 13.
“Christmas Edition ‘Make America Great Again’ hats now available” — WBRZ-TV (Baton Rouge), Nov. 21. (Editor’s note: asking price for a single cap is $45. Cheap!)
“Few places make Christmas more magic than Dollywood” — Fox 29 headline, Nov. 27.
“33 times Prince Harry stole our hearts” — no. 3 headline on ABC News, Nov. 27.
“Teddy bear flies 200 miles to be reunited with 4-year-old girl” — also on ABC News on Nov. 27.
“Holiday decorations light up cities around the world” — USA Today headline, Nov. 30; no. 7 headline on MSN News for the same day.