Brad Goins Thursday, June 18, 2015 Comments Off on OYSTERS THREE WAYS

Every Monday, the Pelican Publishing Co. of Gretna sends its followers an email about new books. On one recent Monday morning, all four selections related to oysters. The recipes for some of New Orleans favorite oyster dishes were included.

For instance, the recipe for Acme Oyster House’s Grilled Oysters (which takes up a full page) was provided. It’s just one of the recipes in the book New Orleans Classic Seafood by Kit Wohl.

Also provided was the recipe for P&J’s Raw Oysters on the Half Shell. This one comes from the P&J Oyster Cookbook by Kit Wohl and the Sunseri Family.

Prefer Oysters Bienville? The email provided the recipe along with a brief history of the dish, whose origins are something of a mystery. You can find the recipe in The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Oysters by Jerald and Glenda Horst.

Rounding out the email was a fourth book about oysters — a children’s book titled Why the Oyster Has the Pearl. In this book, Oyster is a gentle trickster. He finds himself put to the test when he’s confronted by greedy Snake.

Pelican publishes books on Cajun, Texan and Irish culture; all things New Orleans and loads of children’s books (many on Cajun culture; many on other cultures). Titles are as diverse as The Art of Romanian Cooking and Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Portland.

Need to know more? Visit pelicanpub.com.


Do As I Say …

In the middle of May, there was a meeting between lobbyists from the Louisiana Assoc. of Business and Industry and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). That may not sound real interesting. But if you keep reading, I’ll tell you a good funny that came out of it.

At the meeting, lobbyists from both groups said their organizations were opposed to a recent paid sick leave bill sponsored by state Sen. Karen Peterson, D-New Orleans. In particular, Dawn Starns, the Louisiana state director of NFIB, said she opposed Peterson’s bill because she thought it would be burdensome for businesses.

State Sen. Ed Murray had had his coffee that morning. He asked Starns if she received paid sick leave.

Can you guess how she answered? Just take a wild guess.

Starns acknowledged that she did, in fact, get paid sick leave. Fortunately, Sen. Murray did not miss the opportunity to get in a good burn. “The companies you represent are opposed to your own policy,” he said. “The hypocrisy up here never ceases to amaze me.”

Aw, ya got burned, Starns, ya got burned! I’m sure that lobbyist’s salary eased the pain. But I’m betting Starns had a pretty hard time getting to sleep for a couple of nights. Well, it comes with the job.


The Ultimate Embarrassment

Speaking of a good funny, a few days ago, Lafayette’s Ind magazine came up with a headline that was a hoot and a holler. It read, “Poll: Jindal circling the drain.”

That’s a vivid metaphor. And it’s descriptive of the present situation.

The poll in question was conducted by Southern Media & Opinion Research, a firm we read about quite often down here in SWLA.

SMOR reckons that these days, 32 percent of respondents think Jindal is doing a good job; his negative job rating is 64.7 percent.

I agree that those are truly horrible numbers. But that’s not the story here.

Consider this: SMOR says that in Louisiana, President Obama’s positive rating is 42 and his negative rating is 57.3.

So that’s the big story. In Louisiana — the state Sherman Williams uses to set the standard for the hue of red — Jindal’s numbers are lower than Obama’s! Jindal’s numbers are lower than those of the only liberal politician Louisiana hates more than Hillary Clinton. Now, numbers like that are lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut.


Just Do Stuff

How could Jindal’s numbers be that low? Well, if you’re in higher ed or health care; of if you have a son or daughter going to LSU; you don’t really have to ask that question.

But I wonder … Sometimes I just can’t figure out how Jindal is running his presidential campaign. At first, I thought he was just playing to Tea Partiers. But now, sometimes, I can’t figure out why Jindal’s campaign is going where it’s going. It all reminds me of the lines by Heath Ledger’s Joker: “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? … You know, I just … do things.”

Take what happened the other day when Jindal gave a speech while he was trolling for votes in Iowa.

When he was asked on the TV show Iowa Press whether George W. Bush was wise to invade Iraq, Jindal said, “at the time, I think President Bush absolutely made the right decision.”

Now let me make sure I understand this, because I don’t want to be unfair to the guy. Jindal thinks it was a good idea for the U.S. to invade Iraq. He thinks that all the stuff that happened in Iraq after that invasion, was — all other things being equal — more or less good stuff. And he feels that Iraq was in a better place when George W. Bush left office than when he entered office.

It’s a free country. Anybody can have any idea and can voice any idea in a public forum. And I’m not an expert on politics. But I can tell you with absolute certainty that there is not a big bloc of voters who feel that the invasion of Iraq is an underrated idea.


Oh, And They Get Free Hash Browns, Too

Well, as always, it’s interesting, interesting stuff that keeps coming out of the legislative session.

Of course, the House is trying to plug that billion-dollar-plus budget gap that could bring the state’s higher ed to its knees (or leave it lying prostate).

And everyone is saying the House is doing that by finding “revenue enhancements” that Grover Norquist won’t consider tax increases.

Now that won’t be funny unless you know who Grover Norquist is. But if you do know who he is, you might get a belly laugh out of it. I don’t consult with Grover Norquist before I decide to pay the tax on a six pack of Red Stripe — even if said tax has recently been increased. I figure that I’m an adult and I’m perfectly capable of deciding for myself whether I want to pay any sort of tax.

Speaking of adults thinking for themselves — wasn’t this the year all the legislators were supposed to set a precedent by thinking for themselves? Like everybody said, Gov. Bobby Jindal is a lame duck. He (presumably) can’t hurt anybody. And, we were also told, a bunch of these legislators were going to be term-limited out. They themselves said nobody could hurt them. So why are they texting the Grover Norquist Tax Increase Appraisal Office every 30 seconds?

If all that seemed just a tad complicated, rest easy; I’m about to make it real simple real fast. While the House was busy with this year’s treasure-hunting, state Rep. Jim Fannin, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, described the work as “just cleaning out and fixing the current year” — in others words, not in any way preparing for the future. I’m sure we all understand that because we hear it every year.

Oh, and then there was the House’s generous effort to save the state’s universities from their financial crisis. The House did deny state universities the ability to control their own levels of tuition. But the good news is, the House dug down deep and found the guts to make the really big-hearted move of giving universities the power to control their own travel budgets. I assume that means that from now on, a Louisiana professor’s travel per diem will increase from one McDonald’s cinnamon roll per day to two.


The Bedfellows Thing

The only way you couldn’t see the irony in former U.S. Congressman (from New Orleans) Bob Livingston’s recent endorsement of U.S. Sen. David Vitter for governor of Louisiana would be if you didn’t know what irony is.

I’ll be glad to refresh your memory about Livingston. In 1998, while the Republican House was voting through a bill of impeachment of President Bill Clinton, Larry Flynt published a story that alleged that Livingston, one of the leaders of the impeachment effort, was himself having an affair. Livingston admitted the affair and resigned. Couldn’t have been too fun to do, as he was the head of the House Appropriations Committee.

Now Livingston, the admitted adulterer, is endorsing Vitter, who was, of course, caught calling the “D.C. Madam,” who was later convicted of racketeering and committed suicide.

Down in Louisiana, folks may not remember Vitter’s part in a prostitution ring and suicide any more than they remember what Livingston did 17 years ago. But in Washington, they remember every little thing Vitter did. And they’ll be telling jokes about him every day he sits in the governor’s mansion in Louisiana.

I find it hard to believe Vitter knew this endorsement was coming. If Livingston had called him beforehand, surely Vitter would have said, “Hey, dude, just DON’T, OK?”


Exploring Our Footprint

How about something completely different? Has it been a while since you read a local column about the art of found objects? I thought that it had.

Well, brothers and sisters, the wait is over. The art blog Junk Culture recently reported on the “Hidden Museum of Found Objects” in Manhattan.

Now, this place really is hidden. The museum is tucked away in a freight elevator in an alley in the Tribeca district. I don’t know how people figure out how to find it. But I guess lovers of found objects would be the very sorts of people who could find out stuff like that.

The exhibits are every bit as odd as you’d think. There’s an entire shelf of various toothpaste tubes from various countries. There’s a weird-looking slab of Plexiglass that had the words “SHOW BUSINESS” painted on it long ago. There’s a credit card whose appearance has been radically altered by layers of mold. Entire exhibits have been devoted to moss, plastic spoons.

Museum founder Alex Kaiman perfectly describes the value of the art of found objects: “Life exists around us, and the proof of our existence is both beautiful and absurd. Our footprint … is … always worth exploring.”


If you need to know more, visit www.mmuseumm.com/.  Be sure to put in the extra ms.

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