Congratulations to the N.O. Advocate’s Keith Spera, who just used some nifty journalistic tricks to punk Advocate readers into thinking the Rolling Stones would be playing at next year’s Jazz Fest. Underneath a huge color photo of the Stones in concert, Spera wrote, “That persistent 2019 New Orleans Jazz Fest rumor about the band with the multiword name that starts with ‘R’? It is absolutely true.
“The Rebirth Brass Band will DEFINITELY be on the schedule.”
I’m sure you can imagine all the readers saying, “Aww … “
I hope all the Advocate’s subscribers read all the way to the end of the story before they started calling the Advocate receptionist (assuming the paper still has one). The latter part of the story makes it clear that Spera is confident the Stones will play in Jazz Fest next year.
Here’s what he says: Next year, the Stones will be touring in Texas at the end of April and in Arizona in the second week of May. They will have May 2 off and plenty of travel time before and after. That makes a Jazz Fest stop convenient for them.
But will they make the stop? Spera has learned that all Brass Passes for May 2 have been cancelled. He may have other info that leads him to believe that, barring health problems, the Rolling Stones “[will] make their Jazz Fest debut this year” — meaning next year.
The Cupid Click
The La. Highway Safety Commission just announced its #NowClick campaign, which is meant to encourage all drivers and passengers in Louisiana to wear seat belts. The commission informs the public that the proper use of seatbelts can reduce traffic injuries and fatalities by nearly 50 percent.
Performing live at the announcement was “musical guest” Bryson “Cupid” Bernard. Cupid, who comes from Lafayette, released his best-known song, “Cupid Shuffle” in 2007. It climbed to No. 21 on Billboard’s R&B chart. The Safety Commission said, “the entertainer [has] customized the [lyrics of the] international hit to specifically highlight the #NowClick initiative.”
Let me treat you to a few lines of the soaring, inspirational lyrics of the “international hit:”
“Cupid shuffle, Cupid shuffle
“Cupid shuffle, Cupid shuffle
“Down, down, do your dance, do your dance
“We got a brand new dance
“Down, down, do your dance, do your dance.”
Then you just repeat the last eight words four times. Don’t worry. It won’t sound repetitious.
How rare it is to encounter words of such majestic thought and tender feeling. It’s hard to imagine that words of such precise meaning could be tweaked to mean anything else — much less something as mundane as the clicking of a seat belt. Suppose that in Casablanca, instead of singing “A kiss is just a kiss,” Sam had sung, “A click is just a click.” Would viewers have felt compelled to reach for the handkerchiefs or tissues?
I’m amazed Cupid pulled off the miraculous linguistic formation. I know it’s very, very presumptuous of me; but let me just try to re-fashion those heavenly lyrics for a mundane purpose. Here I go.
“Cupid shuffle, Cupid click
“Cupid shuffle, Cupid click
“Down, click, do your dance, click your dance
“We got a click new dance”
“Down, down, do click dance, do your dance.
“Click, down, do your click, do your dance.”
Well, hey. I think that worked pretty well. Now I really do feel like going out and putting on a seat belt. I always say: I don’t know much about rap, but I know what makes me want to buckle up. And apparently Cupid does too.
I’m sure by now many of you have gotten tired of hearing about PETA’s recent instructions about “How to remove speciesism from your daily conversations.” But they’re pretty funny. So I’m going to subject you to them one more time.
It was this recent PETA directive that taught me the word “speciesism.” That term is one of the unfortunate results of one of our worst isms, namely, makeupwordsism.
PETA gave us a list of language changes we could make if we really wanted to end “anti-animal language.” And here’s where we get our funnies.
PETA advised that instead of saying, “kill two birds with one stone,” we say, “feed two birds with one scone.”
Instead of saying, “be the guinea pig,” say, “be the test tube.”
Instead of saying, “beat a dead horse,” say, “feed a fed horse.”
Instead of saying, “bring home the bacon,” say, “bring home the bagels.”
And finally, instead of saying, “take the bull by the horns,” say “take the flower by the thorns.”
None of any of that is “anti-animal language.” What you have there are some extremely old sayings people use to describe everyday situations. Take “kill two birds with one stone.” That was first used in a book in 1632. We think it was a reference to the ancient Middle Eastern myth of Daedalus, who made wings for himself and his son so that they could fly. Part of the story was that Daedalus got the feathers for the wings by killing two birds with one stone. That myth was being written down in Estruscas at least as long ago as 630 B.C. The saying is not about killing birds. It’s about an incident in a made-up story people told each other for diversion more than 2,000 years ago. And of course, today it just means “solve two problems with one solution.”
If I say, “I shot myself in the foot,” I don’t mean that I hate my foot. I don’t even mean that I shot my foot. I mean that I’ve started resorted to using old sayings, so I’m really eager to get out of a conversation and get back to writing about silly stuff.
I Don’t Get To Write That Very Often
A huge, huge corporation just did a kind thing. Ochsner Health just raised the minimum wage for its workers from $8.10 to $12 an hour. That’s more than enough for a big Up Fronter shout out. And it means there are a few more people who will be able to pay for one of those $1,000-a-month one-bedroom apartments we have all over the place.
If You Do Happen To Believe In Climate Change …
If you just don’t believe in climate change at all, period, you might want to skip this next item. But if you think there’s something to it, you might want to read on — especially if you’re really young and like to visit the Louisiana coast and think you might still like to visit it when you get old.
ResCon — a major disaster management group headquartered in New Orleans — gave a presentation on Dec. 5. The first slide showed a figure standing on the present ground level of the Louisiana coast. A figure slightly to the left was shown standing on the ground level for the coast that ResConNola predicts for 2100. That level is 5 feet lower than the present one. The feet of the first figure are on the same level as the shoulders of the second figure. This is about as good an example as you’ll find of the fact that a picture can sometimes do a much better job than words of driving the situation home.
The text that accompanied the figures stated that Louisiana is in worse shape than other places because in addition to seeing its water levels rise, “the land is also sinking.”
But On The Bright Side …
As for this next selection of information about climate change, I think you should be especially quick to discount it since it comes from that fringe journalistic source The Associated Press.
The Global Carbon Project, which is an international group made up of academics, scientists and government and industry representatives, just released three studies about the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that were released around the world in 2017.
Researchers found that after several years of decline, 2017 saw the biggest increase in carbon emissions in seven years. They said that in that year, the world would produce 40.9 billion tons of carbon dioxide — a billion tons more than the 39.8 billion tons produced the year before. In 2017, we human folk gave the world 1,300 tons of carbon dioxide every second.
The U.S. had been steadily decreasing its carbon pollution, but in 2017, like much of the world, its emissions went up 2.5 percent.
The study’s lead author, Corinne Le Quere, of the University of East Anglia in England, said the increase is a “reality check.” But she also said the jumps around the world were due to aberrations. For the U.S., the unusual circumstance was a combination of a hot summer and a cold winter; for China, it was an economic stimulus that relied heavily on coal.
In 2017, China’s carbon emissions went from 10.3 billion tons to 11.4 billion tons. The U.S. went from 5.4 billion tons to slightly less than 6 billion. But we don’t have to feel too, too bad for the simple reason that everyone else went up too. The European Union increased from 3.5 billion tons to 3.9 billion and India jumped from 2.6 billion to 2.9.
Aside from weird weather events and increased use of coal, increases in emissions from cars and planes were big culprits, Le Quere said. The report stated that carbon dioxide emissions have increased 55 percent in the last 20 years. Not to worry. I’m sure a solution is right around the corner. I’m just not sure which corner.
In a recent letter to the editor published by the Baton Rouge Advocate, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy let loose with all barrels on Chinese students in U.S. schools. In the letter, Kennedy said Chinese students in this country’s universities are “stealing our technology” and want “our research, our ideas, and the results of all those hours spent working in university laboratories.”
This is not the first time Kennedy’s language has confused me. Did he mean that the Chinese students are “coveting … the results of all those hours” the Chinese students spent working in laboratories in American universities? As anyone who’s spent time in American graduate schools knows, Chinese students work like the very devil in comparison to their American counterparts. They don’t need to “steal” our research. While “our” American graduate students are watching Game of Thrones or doing karaoke or having long soul searches in coffee shops, Chinese students are hunched over their desks doing their own research. They don’t even think about playing until all the work is done. Sometimes, they never get to the playing part at all.
And where does Kennedy get the idea that in 2018, U.S. technology is light years ahead of Chinese technology? For the moment, U.S. universities still have better reputations than Chinese universities. That’s the only reason the Chinese are here.
Does Kennedy know anything at all about what he was writing about? Or were his words just one more angry spew about people who aren’t American citizens? That sort of thing doesn’t hurt China or the Chinese in the least. But it doesn’t do the United States a bit of good.
“Jessica Simpson Fires Back At Natalie Portman Following Bikini Shade”
“Most Popular Dog Names Of 2018 Reveals [sic] ‘Big Cultural Moments,’ Says Rover.com”
— Both headlines from Inquisitr [sic], Dec. 4.
In all fairness, I should note that on the same day, USA Today’s No. 8 headline read “Jessica Simpson goes after Natalie Portman.” Neither of the headlines were sufficient to inspire me to Google the term “bikini shade.”
I’ve seen in the movies how small Natalie Portman is. If I were her, I’d be dodging Jessica Simpson.
Here’s your special New Year’s bonus headline: “Woman’s head swells after reaction to hair dye” — headline in AOL’s Lifestyle News, Nov. 29.