31 May 2007

14:59... 14:58... 14:57...

Oh, my. Only seven days old, and this blog gets mentioned on fellow Louisianian Brad Drell's website. (For you non-Anglican/Episcopal blogger folks, that's high praise, indeed - which I'm not sure I deserve.)

Week's Prayers

If you, like me, have chats with the Almighty, please remember these folks to Him this week:

Carole, John, Ellen, Anne, Jack, Peter, Shan, Earl, Pat, Betty, Georgie, Pat (2), Jean, Jerry+, Stacy, Charles+, David, George+, Melanie, Bruce, Cherrill, Jesse, Ken, David, Katherine+, C. Ray, All who serve in our Armed Forces, Toby, Keith, Lusila, Russell.

For the departed:
Anne, John, Nelson, Martha, Louise, Parsons, Margaret, Jim, Manny, Raoul, Tapper, Kyle, Robert Sr., Robert Jr., Theresa, Mary, Jean, Don+, All who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Church of the Annunciation

OK, not everything in New Orleans is doom and gloom, and not every Episcopal church is shrinking. This past Sunday I attended Mass at the Free Church of the Annunciation in the Broadmoor neighborhood in New Orleans. Through the (near miraculous) efforts of Father Jerry Kramer and the parishioners, Annunciation is growing and has become a beacon for neighborhood cleanup and rebuilding efforts. They recently even planted a church in the Lower Ninth Ward, All Souls (which was started in a garage). Their ministry challenges are huge, as is their need for prayers and resources. So please say a kind word to the Lord about them and, if you wish, make a donation through their website.

Rachel's Law: Every inaction has an equal and opposite reaction

Rachel Lucas takes on three immovable forces: water, gravity, and management agencies. At once. And wins!

C. Ray: It's their fault!

C. Ray, the (occasional) mayor of New Orleans, delivered a speech yesterday saying the reason New Orleans is not the land of milk and honey because of.... Bush. And FEMA. And the Feds. And Blanco. And the Legislature. And Road Home. And the Tooth Fairy. And.... fill in the blank.

The out-of-control murder rate? Why, that's a "blip".

Glad to know it, Ray. I guess the flood of returnees will start any minute now.


Flags and Letters together

Movie reviews will not be a typical feature here at RED STICK RANT because, well, I don't watch too many movies anymore, and I SUCK at writing reviews. But I will make this one exception for my kids. As they will not be here for Father's Day, they got me an early persent - the DVD boxed set of Clint Eastwood's Flags of our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. I watched both on Memorial Day, and I must say I was left with mixed feelings. I read Flags of our Fathers last year and was taken with the book. Not as much with the DVD. The scenes of the naval armada and the bombardment were incredable - as was all of the CGI work in both films - but I found some of the storytelling heavy-handed at times, even a bit cynical, and it was somewhat disjointed. Letters from Iwo Jima was the more engaging of the two, I think. First, it told a story that most Americans don't really know, and second, it didn't jump back and forth between two story-lines as did Flags. Both films were beautifully photographed. See both.

30 May 2007

A long time ago, in a decade far, far away.....

Wow. It was 30 years ago this past week that George Lucas' Star Wars was first released. 30 years. I saw it the first night it opened in New Orleans (Lakeside Cinema, at the Lakeside Mall in Metairie.) I had just graduated high school and was sans a girlfriend, so me and some buddies went. We saw the ad in the paper and thought, "hmm, that looks interesting". I don't know why, but I saved the ticket stub from that night. Still have it. (OK, I do know why - deep down I'm a sentimental nerd. Sue me.)

C. Ray run. Run, C. Ray, run.

Here are four words sure to keep you awake at night: Louisiana. Governor. Ray. Nagin.

"Nagin is not committed to the recovery of New Orleans, he is committed to himself. The latest rumor running around political circles is that Nagin will run for Governor of Louisiana this fall. What a joke! Is there anyone more unqualified, more incapable than Ray Nagin? Folks, if you thought that Kathleen Blanco was bad, just wait till Ray Nagin takes over as Governor. He'll make Blanco look like Margaret Thatcher."

Let's hope (and pray, ferverently) that this is one rumor too wild for even Louisiana politics.

Anglican Report 27

Anglican Report 27 is up. They also have mp.3 and Podcast downloads.

He's going to run.

If this pans out it will be good news indeed: Politico is reporting that Fred Thompson will announce his candidacy for President the week of 4 July.

About damn time.

UPDATE: National Review Online says not so fast. And they claim better sources.

UPDATE 2: While he hasn't tossed his hat into the ring, Fred Thompson admits he's bought the hat, and he's taking careful aim......

29 May 2007

01 June is here - are you ready?

With the start of hurricane season just days away, those of us who live in coastal areas need to be thinking about our annual preparations. If you are, check out Doug Ritter's Equipped to Survive. And check out the site's Survival Forum, too. The site is also useful if you will be camping or hiking this summer, or are involved in Scouting.

Full Disclosure: I occasionally write for, and contribute to, Doug's site.

A new SAW?

According to StrategyPage, the Marines are looking for a replacement for the venerable M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon), and the US Army is watching to see what the Marines will do. I've heard reports both good and bad about the SAW, but it's all second-hand knowledge as I never got to carry or fire one. (The Guard units I was in had, at best, ancient M-60's.)

This phone booth isn't big enough for the both of us!!

The Louisiana Libertarian Party is having a meeting, and Presidential candidates will be in attendance. Not that you have ever heard of either of them, or likely ever will.

I only point this up because the libertarian message - individual liberty, limited government, personal responsibility - should have great appeal. It sure is different from the major parties finger-in-the-wind, poll-driven "values" - which they abandon at their earliest controversy. Ideologically, I count myself as a (little L) libertarian. So why isn't the Libertarian Party more competitive? Three words: The Libertarian Party. Have you ever met a dyed-in-the-wool (big L) Libertarian? You'll know it when you do. They come across as either one-issue zelots or nerds who didn't date much. They'll blather on about this arcane author's treatise, or that law's unintended consequences, or the Constitutionality of this ruling or that regulation, and little to do directly with the issue(s) of the day. Yawn. (Think I'm kidding? Ron Paul used to be a Libertarian.)

Are the things that concern Libertarians important? Well, yes. Very important. But Libertarians seem singularly uninterested in trying to relate them to the average Joe, or Jill, or Jose. If the Libertarian Party wants to gain appeal, they need to do three things:

One - Make your message clear and understandable, and relate it to issues that folks are concerned about. If you can not state a position or policy in 100 words or less, you will lose people's interest. And relate it to concrerns in people's lives. While they may be important theorists, most folks have no idea who Adam Smith or Ayn Rand are, or really care. Example: Position on the War on Terror. Lose the tortured "neither force nor fraud" argument. Say this: "We stand for peace; we covet no one's land nor treasure. But, when attacked, we must and will vigorously defend ourselves. Our nation has been attacked and, if elected, we will continue to vigorously defend ourselves by whatever means necessary until the threat to our freedoms has been eliminated." See. Simple enough.

Two - Have a plan, guys. You want to eliminate the minimum wage, the IRS, half of the government bureaucracy, and most of the welfare state. I'm on with that. So is most of the country. OK...... HOW? That's where the Libertarian Party gets a little fuzzy. Alright, real fuzzy. What you say is, basically, just do it. That's it? It's more complicated than that, and folks (other than you) know it. That kind of change scares people; or, at the least, your opponents use it to scare people. Get your head out of your ideological butt and get more realistic and specific. Have a PLAN to eliminate welfare. "In two years we will.....", "In three years we will......" That kind of thing.

Three - This is about politics - so start being political, 'fer crissake! Rigidity can be a good thing. It can also be a bad thing. Know the difference, and learn to compromise without giving up your core values. Tip O'Neal once said that all politics is local. Remember that.

DO those things, and me - plus a huge part of the rest of the country - will be watching your conventions and cheering your candidates.

UPDATE: Thanks, Susan!

28 May 2007

Marquise Hill dies in accident

LSU football alum and New England Patriot Marquise Hill was killed in a jet-ski accident on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans.

Please keep his family, friends, and team-mates in your prayers.

Egg. Meet Face.

OK, this blog is not a week old and my first "mea culpa". In an earlier post, I reported that the memo the Washington Post used in a story about food shortages at the US Embassy in Iraq appeared fake. Turns out that thay the US embassy confirmed that a memo was sent, and the text of the memo is accurate. However, the .pdf originally circulated did seem very suspect, especially with the Lennox China figurine image in the masthead. The embassy also said that while temporary shortages do occur, they are nothing to be alarmed about. Ace of Spades has more.

Monday roundup

Happy Memorial Day.

Two recommended articles concerning Memorial Day by Peter Collier and Michael Yon. Interesting sidenote: Google, who changes their banner image to celebrate even the most obscure holidays, has no banner celebrating Memorial Day. Again.

Five murders in New Orleans this weekend alone. But never fear! Once more, the ever-decisive Mayor C. Ray has identified the problem – this time he’s blaming the out-of-control violence on……. (you’re gonna LOVE this….) Modern culture, particularly rap videos. Really. Somebody should make a list of all the excuses C. Ray has given for the near anarchy that exists today - it would be quite a lengthy read.

My dad’s old Marine Reserve unit, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marines, is heading back to Iraq. The 3/23 served with distinction over there back in 2003-04, and I’m sure they will do so again. Semper Fi.

LSU has started the search for Mike VI. My suggestion is here.

And in the why-I-sholdn't-let-my-mind-wander department.....
I've had an idea for a board game to be marketed here in South Louisiana, called "Road Home". Players would go round the board until one actually gets their Road Home Money from ICF. A pot of 5 billion in play money would be placed in the middle of the board, and play would continue until one player gets all of the required Road Home forms and applications completed and approved, winning the pot or $150,000, whichever is less. Here's the trick - each turn, 15 percent of the pot is removed as "management fees". (And beware the dreaded "Blanco Card"!) Instead of a box, the game would come wrapped in a blue tarp.

27 May 2007

We don't get fooled. Again??

Bloggers routinely get dismissed by Big Media types because, the logic goes, Big Media are somebodies with editors and fact-checkers who safeguard truth and accuracy, and bloggers are nobodies who don't. Yeah, whatever.

Well it seems that all those safeguards were at lunch or something over at the Washington Post, since they published a story based on an aparrently forged memo. What gave it away? The image of a Lenox China figurine used as the embassy logo, perhaps? Ace of Spades is all over this one.

A work in progress

Been busy in New Orleans this weekend (more on that, next week), so haven't had time, or the inclination, to fiddle with my new toy much. I've only had this blog for a few days, so changes and fixes and improvements are still happening. Like the Blog-roll over on the right - yes, it is VERY sparse, and will be beefed up soon.

I hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day weekend.

25 May 2007


In 17 days....

AIA Gulf States Awards

The AIA Gulf States honor awards are up. Lots of Louisiana firms included. Kudos especially to Waggonner & Ball, and Eskew Dumez Ripple.

Week's Prayers

Those who know me know that I have a Faith, and I do try to practice it. Do I always succeed? Nope. Am I Mr. Pious? Nope. (I believe that God has a sense of humor, and a sense of irony, too...) But I do fervently believe in the power of prayer. I have seen prayer work miracles in people's lives - including my own. And the more prayers out there, the better. So if you, too, have chats with the Almighty, please remember these folks to Him this week:

Carole, John, Ellen, Anne, Jack, Peter, Shan, Earl, Pat, Betty, Georgie, Pat (2), Jean, Jerry, Stacy, Charles+, David, George+, Melanie, Bruce, Cherrill, Jesse, Toby, Keith, All who serve or have served in our Armed Forces.

For the departed:
Anne, John, Nelson, Martha, Louise, Parsons, Manny, Raoul, Tapper, Kyle, Robert Sr., Robert Jr., Theresa, Mary, Jean, Don+, All who have given their lives for this


Keeping the Memorial in Memorial Day

As we all scoot off this weekend for a little R & R, do not forget to take a few moments away from the barbeque pit or the TV to reflect on why we celebrate Memorial Day. It ain't about the "official start of summer", or another reason to kick back with a couple of brews.

It's about payback.

This weekend, if you meet an elderly WWII veteran, or a 'Nam vet, or a young man or woman just returned from Iraq, thank them for their service and sacrifice. If you pass a cemetary, stop and pay respects to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. If you attend Church, pray for those currently on Active Duty or in the Reserves who still sacrifice.

Let those who paid (and still pay) for your freedom, know - you are in their debt; you will honor that debt; and they are not forgotten.

24 May 2007

Day by Day, Every Day

If you are not reading Chris Miur's Day-by-Day, you should. Every day.

It's not like a Koran was defiled or anything....

Ask Cindy Sheehan, or Michael Moore, or Amnesty International – or just about any Democrat in Congress - to define torture, and their response will sound something like: "Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Abu Ghraib", and then some reference to "theevilbushadministration". America as the bad guy.

Now, via the Smoking Gun, take a look at what REAL torture looks like. Done by the very same people that Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore think are freedom fighters.

If you don’t know what we are fighting for in the War on Terror, at least know what we are fighting against.

Hattip: Little Green Footballs

UPDATE: The lefties are already calling this story highly suspect, since news like this benifits Bush and the War. And besides, they're saying dismissively, everyone knows AQ brutally tortures folks so it's not really news. Now if an American soldier had had images like this in their possession, would that be news??

Memo to Mr. Toad: Let's Ride!

I got me a new set of wheels. Short review: 300hp doesn't suck. Oh, no it doesn't.

UPDATE: I never thought I'd say this, but I'm hooked on satellite radio. They broadcast every Red Sox game. And the Bruins games, too.

A suggestion that would be easy for some to, um... swollow

With the recent death of LSU's beloved "Mike the Tiger", our "friends" at PETA are demanding that LSU replace Mike with a human mascot and not another bengal tiger. Really. OK. How about this, PETA - we won't get another tiger if you let us keep a naked Pam Anderson in a cage in Baton Rouge. To sweeten the deal, we'll even change LSU's mascot name from the "Tigers" to the "Suckers". Works on so many levels, don't you think?

23 May 2007

Required Reading

Wow. That didn't hurt. Not at all. So, with the introductions out of the way, let's get onto something more.... relevent.

If have not yet read Michael Yon's reports from the War, you are missing something. Something big. Thie is the story the Old Media isn't telling - the soldier's story - and Yon is the Ernie Pyle of our era. He is self-financed, so if you like what you read, send him a little something.

Is there anybody out there?

OK, I did it. I got a blog. (Nothing like being 5 years behind the curve, eh?)

For those who don't know me, let me introduce myself: I am an architect in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with interests in architecture (duh!), politics and current events, the Episcopal Church's epic struggle to achieve utter irrelevance, military history, shooting, and things outdoors. How much of one versus the other will be showcased around here, we will have to wait and see.

Why am I doing this now? Dunno, exactly. I'm approaching the big five-oh and, as mid-life crisis' go, this seems like a pretty safe and tame one. So do I have anything to say? Again - I dunno. I'll put up what interests me, and my take on it, and I hope it will be of interest to you, too. (Or, at least, give you something to kill time with while at work.)

I figure if Rachel Lucas can come back from the blog-dead (now there's a hot. zombie. fantasy.), I can live a little.

So, here goes........

UPDATE: Welcome Drell's Descants readers! Feel free to have a look round. It's still very much a work in progress, so please pardon the mess.