Tuesday, Jan. 16, was a little frustrating for me. Every Louisiana journalist was Tweeting about his or her immense grief about the Saints loss that had taken place more than 24 hours earlier. I understand the loss was unexpected. But unexpected losses are kind of part of the game. Besides, all I wanted was for Louisiana journalists to tamp down their grief just long enough to report some news.
How could I know that on the next day — Wednesday, Jan. 17 — I’d be wishing the journalists were in mourning again. Reports of spotty coverage on the football field were usurped by reports of spotty ice coverage on the streets. On Jan. 17, I learned that very few of Louisiana’s journalists have ever lived north of the Mason-Dixon line. Give them any amount of ice or snow, or a temperature below 20, and they go nuts. Fortunately for them, all that stuff is considered news here.
For what it’s worth, I’ll note that for the first time in, oh, I guess, ever, I agreed with the decision of local schools and gubment to close buildings down. I did a little walkabout on the 17th. I saw some big, nasty patches of ice on some roads and in some parking lots — patches I would neither want to walk or drive on. It’s good for people in a place like this when the roads aren’t entirely covered with the stuff, and they can drive around the bad spots. If you’re looking for things about SWLA to be grateful about, that’s one.
Tears In My King Cake
As usual, Louisiana’s U.S. Sen. John Kennedy did the best job of expressing the state’s mourning over the Saint’s loss with the beauty of eloquent English. After he was photographed giving Minnesota Sen. Amy Kolbuchar a king cake, Kennedy Tweeted, “This is the saddest I’ve ever been holding a king cake.”
He’s got me there. I don’t remember ever holding a king cake, much less being sad about it.
Kennedy also Tweeted, “This was a tough loss for everyone in Louisiana.” Sorry to have to beg to differ again, senator. It was a tough loss for sports fans in Louisiana. For people in Louisiana who aren’t sports fans, there was nothing tough about it. If Kennedy continues to speak and Tweet, that might be a little tough for those who follow the news (regardless of whether they like sports).
In a press release for a meeting held recently by Baton Rouge’s Lantec of Louisiana, I read this: “There are currently five generations in the workforce, from Silents to Millennials.”
OK. I don’t know what “Silents” are. And there’s no need to call me and tell me what they are because I don’t want to know.
I know what Baby Boomers are because I heard the phrase daily when I was going up. I know what Generation X is because I read the novel Generation X. I know what Millennials are because the concept of someone being born at the time a new millennium begins is simple enough for me to grasp.
To this day, I have no idea what Generation Y was supposed to be. (Again, please don’t tell me.)
I hope I never find out what genius decided it was necessary to come up with a name for a new “generation” every 10 years. For starters, a generation lasts 20 years. To have five generations takes 100 years. Yet, we named at least five generations in the 50 years from 1950 to 2000. Either the math is off or the same guy who came up with the naming idea came up with a way to prove that 20=10. I’m pretty sure, at least, that a 20-year-old is not the same thing as a 10-year-old.
By the 10-year standard, the name for the next generation is overdue. I’d like to suggest Generation Droopy (for the Droopy the Dog cartoon character) or Generation Foghorn Leghorn (for Foghorn Leghorn). The only reason I have for suggesting these names is that I like them.
Call For Filmmakers
Louisiana Public Broadcasting is calling for entries for short films from Louisiana filmmakers. The films submitted will be nominated for inclusion in the PBS Online Film Festival, which will take place July 16-27.
Films should be 3-15 minutes in length. They can be fiction or non-fiction. The films most sought are those that include creative storytelling and high production quality.
To enter, filmmakers can send a link to email@example.com. Include the title of the film, contact information and a two- to three-sentence-long description of the film. Send questions about technical requirements to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit lpb.org/filmfest. Submissions will need to be made by Feb. 5.
One nice feature of this is that no one has to be the “best” at anything; one just has to make the grade. So, if you’ve already made a short film or you don’t mind working really fast, you might have a good chance of getting some free nationwide exposure.
Crawfish Festival Poster Goes Digital
I know next to nothing about the art and craft of poster making. So I don’t know how important it is that poster makers have the option of making digital art. What I can tell you is that a major local poster contest is now allowing digital art to be submitted.
This year, for the first time, the DownTown Lake Charles Crawfish Festival Poster Contest will accept digital art. All traditional mediums of painting and drawing will continue to be accepted. Photography will not be.
There is no age limit for contestants. Entries will be accepted March 1-15 at the ALA Gallery by the Lake at 106 W. Pryce St. between noon and 5 pm. Participants can submit three entries for $5.
All entries must be original. No copyrighted work will be accepted.
Works must include the words “Original DownTown Lake Charles Crawfish Festival 2018.” They should have images of crawfish and Lake Charles and incorporate SWLA themes.
The work should be no larger than 16 by 20 inches and unframed. On canvas works, leave enough blank canvas to provide room for hanging hardware. Paper sheets should be mounted on foam core with cord or wire on the back for hanging. Art work should include the artist’s name, address, phone number and email.
The winning entry will be reproduced on the annual festival poster and t-shirt. The winning artist will receive a monetary prize and be featured at Art Walk at the Gallery by the Lake.
ALA, the Galley by the Lake, will continue to work with the National Parkinson Foundation of SWLA and Southeast Texas to host the contest.
‘Your Dog Deserves Real Grass’
Nothing about the stretch of cold weather slowed down the brisk flow of promotional emails into the Up Front editorial offices. Every day, the Up Fronter gets promotional emails for 10 or so products he’s never heard of, each of them marketed by someone he’s never heard of. If something about the product repulses me, I’ll block the sender. Often, I’ll just delete the emails so I can get on with my work.
Once in a blue moon, I see a subject line that intrigues me so much I read the email. Such was the case with the highly creative and vague subject line “Fresh Patch: Your Dog Deserves Real Grass — Samples Available!”
When I opened the email, my gaze fell upon an eye-catching color photo of a dog with a Santa cap and sunglasses sitting on a three-feet-wide patch of grass placed on a cardboard bed.
My big brain skipped a few beats before I realized that Santa dog was supposed to relieve himself — inside the house — on the patch of grass.
Once I figured it out, my genetic predisposition to skepticism and cynicism kicked in and I started thinking nasty stuff like, “Oh, how stupid.”
But then I pondered the product a minute. The indoor patch of grass (complete with roots and soil and all) was being promoted as a way of keeping dogs from having to go out in the snow. But I wondered whether it might not be useful regardless of weather in that it might be able to eliminate much of the hassle that dog and owner go through as the puppy makes the transition to relieving himself outdoors.
But wouldn’t the things start stinking eventually? My cyber marketer Susana assured me that Fresh Patch has “living grass” that “absorbs liquids and controls odors naturally.” No “cleaning or maintenance” is necessary. After two weeks, you throw the whole unit in the trash and a new Fresh Patch is delivered to your front door.
They come in various sizes, accommodating animals weighing up to 25 pounds. One model has a bed reinforced with wood. And Susana says Fresh Patch works with lots more than dogs. She says, “a teacup puppy, cat, kitten, rabbit, turtle, bird or any other tiny pet” can make beneficial use of the small size of Fresh Patch.
If all the claims about the product are on the level, it just might work. I was a little concerned about the idea of a new one coming every two weeks. I’d think the puppy should make his transition within that time period. I’m not sure a dog could be trained to relieve himself only on grass he finds indoors. If such a thing is possible, I’d think it would be undesirable.
On Amazon, models of Fresh Patch range from $18 to $79. The $40 option gets almost five stars in reviews, which is a pretty good sign. Be sure you’re getting a Fresh Patch, as some of the models by other companies use artificial grass. The idea of an “Artificial Grass Bathroom Mat” brought me right back to my comfort zone of skepticism and cynicism.
The Hard Sell
“Every spinning top that leaves our hands to become part of your life — and we mean every single one — is built on the same belief: that a top is more than just a toy. That, above all, a top must be absolutely simple, elegant and designed forever.” That is an actual ad for the “foreverspin” company that I saw on the Weather Underground site.
Gee, if they get that worked up about tops, how must they feel about gyroscopes? And wouldn’t a person have to be a little naïve to be thinking about the prospect of designing something forever?
“Cardi B surpasses Beyoncé on the charts” — CNN, Jan. 18.
“‘Stranger Things’ star’s Twitter challenge is sweet” — CNN, Jan. 18.
Neither one of the these headlines was in CNN’s entertainment section.