Friday, December 31, 2010
We took a leisurely drive down Highway 1 and hit town about noon. Our first stop was the Kaffie-Frederick Hardware Store which is the oldest general store in the state of Louisiana. They've got everything from PVC pipe and horseshoes to fine art. Need some new cast iron cookware?
Or a ladle?
How about a welcoming dog:
Or an upside down Christmas tree (we saw a couple of these as we walked down Front Street; some decorated, some not.)
Steve bought some coffee and I got a new Pyrex measuring cup and we headed over to The Pub for lunch. Except you couldn't order food until four. So we ordered beer. We had a beer and peanuts and promised to come back at four. We went down the street to The Canebrake Cafe for chili dogs to hold us over:
It's a nice little coffee shop sort of place with light fare and big windows where you can watch the river and the people walking down Front Street while you relax.
From there it was on to The Book Merchant where Sam was sleeping in the window:
We browsed for a while and Steve found a book he wanted then we walked around for a bit. We watched people all day line up in front of these decorations and take pictures:
We went by the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception to see their Christmas decorations. It's a truly beautiful church. I loved the nativity scene:
and the wise men...
The windows a beautiful:
It was past four by this point so we headed over to The Pub for food. The lights were just starting to be visible outside:
We were tempted by the burgers which we've had before and know are great, but wanted to try something different. We both got pizza. Mine was pepperoni, mushroom and onion. Everything they serve at The Pub is fresh and made from scratch:
I had to get an order of "pub fries" to take back in the car with me: home made french fries with lots of salt! OMG.
I'm glad we made this trip when we did because the restaurant will be closed for the month of January. How mad would I have been to go back and find it closed again after my disappointment in July!
From there we went outside to look at the lights. I posted a video last night of them, but this lady posted a better one. It was so peaceful though with the calm river reflecting the lights from the opposite bank and Christmas songs playing in the background from speakers up and down the riverfront. I liked the tunnel of lights that before Christmas leads up to Santa's House, but Santa isn't there now:
As if we hadn't eaten enough, we bought a funnel cake, sat by the river and shared it while looking at the lights before heading home:
Here's the funnel cake:
Fun day! One thing I can say about Natchitoches is that we always meet so many nice and friendly people there, whether it's a shopkeeper, a local, or even someone just traveling through. We''re planning to head back this spring, spend the night, and take a long drive down the Cane River Road. Beautiful.
Previous posts on Natchitoches:
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Oakland Plantation (July 2010)
The Natchitoches Travelogue (July 2009)
Thursday, December 30, 2010
The condition? Gladys has to give her sister one of her kidneys.
Can a governor require that!? I guess he can.
The Times reports that the original idea belonged to Gladys. It seems that Jamie is in need of a transplant and her medical care is now costing the state a lot of money.
Barbour has decided the women are no longer a threat to society and the NAACP (among others) has long protested the sentence they received, based in part it seems on the fact that they only got $11.00 in the attack. In addition, the Scott sisters had no previous criminal conviction, so many decided the sentence was unfair. (I'm not sure why they think the fact that they only got $11.00 means their sentence was too harsh, but there ya go; would it have been fair if they'd gotten $1,000?)
Jamie Scott says they're innocent and didn't do it. That could be true, I suppose. One of their accomplices (after the robbery they left the scene with three young men) submitted an affadavit saying the sisters weren't involved.
It all sounds like a John Grisham novel.
At any rate - a kidney for your freedom is now the law of the land in Mississippi.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Ok pardon the odd picture but I had to test the phone-to-blog hookup.
I saw my brother today at Mom's and he said, "You haven't been blogging much!"
Gawd. It's true. But today I had all good intentions of catching up on things UNTIL I decided to backup my iPhone which required updating iTunes and then required downloading the new iPhone update. By the end of all that my poor iPhone was in "Recovery Mode" and had to be restored to factory settings. This, as you may know, wiped out all my apps, contacts, photos, everything.
Luckily I'd saved my contacts manually elsewhere and had emailed any photos I wanted to myself because I KNOW whenever I do an iTunes update...something ...goes...wrong. All the time.
It's probably just me.
So I went to BestBuy, took advantage of my early upgrade offer, and got the iPhone4. It's a nice improvement over my old 3G. But then I spent the rest of the day updating contacts and restoring apps.
Tomorrow, Steve and I are taking a day trip to Natchitoches! It's been a while since we've been so I'm looking forward to it. Lordy I do hope the Pioneer Pub is open this time.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Mr. Brown kindly sent me a signed copy of his book to read. I'll admit, I didn't follow his story when it was happening in the late 90s and beyond. Everyone was talking about Edwin Edwards and his fate, but I was totally unfamiliar with Brown's story. That's just my own ignorance; it wasn't for lack of coverage.
Jim Brown, for those of you who are in the dark like I was, is a long-time Louisiana public servant. He was an accomplished college athlete (track) and eventually found his way into public service, serving eight years as Louisiana Secretary of State and then twelve years as Commissioner of Insurance. Brown thoroughly reformed the insurance office in Baton Rouge and made the department one of the most acclaimed and positively recognized departments in the country. In short, Brown had led an exemplary life of public service.
That changed in 1999 when he was indicted on 56 counts of fraud. By the end of his ordeal all but five had been dismissed but not before a grueling and incredibly unfair trial which was heard before an unheard of anonymous jury. The veil of secrecy over Brown's entire trial would make up much of the basis for the appeal to come. On top of that, Brown's defense team was denied copies of the handwritten FBI notes that would be used against him making the trial basically Brown's word against the FBI.
Louisiana is known for its political corruption but Brown is certainly an exception. Nothing in his career ever indicated that he was one of "those" politicians and in fact, it was made clear during his trial that he committed no fraud whatsoever. He was eventually convicted basically of lying to an FBI agent - although without access to those notes it was an insurmountable challenge for his defense team to defend him.
Brown's book is a compelling read and a real eye opener as to how a gross miscarriage of justice can occur. It's also a story of perseverance and optimism - Brown never gave up hope that he would be exonerated. He worked diligently with his lawyers on his trial and appeal and appropriately managed the outrage that must have consumed him.
Today Mr. Brown is moving on. He's told his story in his book (he was under a gag order during the trial and could not speak out in his own defense). His website (and link to his radio program) is here.
As far as my reading table goes, I'm picking up Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars because that's about the only thing that could be stranger than Brown's tale.
Today in Shreveport the Independence Bowl between Air Force and Georgia Tech kicks off at 4 pm. Both teams have been making appearances around town at various hospitals and events as well as a Pep Rally and Battle of the Bands event at CenturyTel Center last night. There are still tickets available for the game if you'd like to head out to Independence Stadium and take part. I'm sure there is a lot of fun tailgating going on out there today! The weather is clear and beautiful today, although a bit chilly.
With New Years Eve coming up in a few days, it's time to take a look around and see what your options are in the Shreveport Bossier area this year.
Harrah's Louisiana Downs will have the Spazmatics again this year. It's an 80s dance party that kicks off at 8pm. There will be party favors and a balloon drop at midnight.
Boomtown Casino is offering the Stiff Necked Fools in performance and lots of giveaways.
Diamond Jack's Casino in Bossier City has entertainment by The Nomads, free champagne and a balloon drop.
ElDorado Casino has a Walk the Red Carpet New Years Eve event beginning at 7pm. Go here for ticket options:
The party will usher in 2011 and locally launch “A Tribute to Andy Warhol” champagne by Dom Perginon. The creation of this unique collection of three bottles by the Design Laboratory at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art & Design pays tribute to Warhol, creative genius and one of the most illustrious artists of the 20th century. “Walk the Red Carpet” New Year’s Eve at Eldorado offers guests true VIP treatment found at major clubs in Vegas, New York, and Los Angeles. All VIP guests will enter on the red carpet, where they will pose for a brief photo shoot by local “paparazzi”. Guests will then be escorted to their private tables stocked for bottle service with Limited Edition Belvedere Vodka and Dom Perignon Champagne from the “Andy Warhol Series.” Each table will also be supplied with special party favors from Louis Vuitton/Moet/Hennessy and Eldorado Casino.
The American Legion on Cross Lake will have its annual New Years bash from 8 to 1:00; go here to order tickets.
Holiday Lanes in Bossier City has a New Years celebration, too. For $25 (for adults) you get unlimited glow-in-the-dark bowling from 9pm - 2am; breakfast platter, party pack favors, and champagne at midnight. Kids can come too; tickets for kids are $15 for under 12 years of age.
SciPort on the Riverfront has their annual New Years at Noon event; it starts at 10am and runs until 2pm:
Come celebrate the "Noon Year" at our unique New Year's Eve party where we commemorate a cultural new year's exploration! As the clock strikes Noon in Shreveport, Indonesia will start their month-long preparation for Imlek, which is the Chinese word for New Year. Sci-Port families can celebrate and learn about the traditions of Imlek including the traditional Dragon Dance, then count down to "midnight" Sci-Port-style with a balloon drop!
There are plenty of local restaurants to serve you. SIGIS recommends The Blind Tiger downtown for burgers or their classic Louisiana creations; L'Italino for your fine dining Italian experience, or Vince's South Port for your seafood desires!
There are lots of local clubs offering celebrations as well. I'll update this post as I discover exactly who is doing what. If you know of something exciting going on in the SB area for New Years, leave it in the comments!
Update: Here is The Shreveport Times list of activities.
Code 3 Lounge at 2826 Barksdale Blvd.(right outside the Barksdale AFB Shreveport gate) is having a New Years Eve Party and has The Cole V band playing. SIGIS recommends Code 3 as a nice place to go!
Michael Vick is pleading for a second chance and says a dog would help with his rehabilitation. I think Michael Vick got his second chance when the NFL let him back in.
I'm all for forgiveness and second chances, but why does Obama feel the need to get involved in whether or not Vick should be allowed to have a dog?
Doesn't he have other things to worry about?
Sunday, December 26, 2010
We had a wonderful and lazy Christmas day. I cooked the big lunch and we spent the rest of the day lounging around. I spent most of the day reading (and eating). I watched all 24 hours of The Christmas Story marathon with the exception of four episodes.
And now? Now it's time to kick back, enjoy a few bowl games, watch the NHL Winter Classic on 1/1/11, and then....time for Mardi Gras!
Hope all of you had a wonderful holiday and aren't snowed in, wherever you are. It's going to be 75 degrees here this week.
Friday, December 24, 2010
We did our family Christmas thing last weekend so the present thing is all done for the most part here. The Teenager has already received his big gift but will have some little things on Christmas morning and, of course, a stuffed stocking to explore. We'll be lazy and spend time together and enjoy the holiday. I, of course, will be watching the 24 hour marathon of A Christmas Story which is my tradition.
I've spent the past two or three days on the couch, horizontal, reading books and recovering from the crud which brings violent coughing spells. I've now finished Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken, which I was reading on my last post, and I do recommend it. She fills in details that Louie Zamperini could not have told in his Devil at My Heels. Both are well worth your time.
Coincidentally, I saw Zamperini on a Fox News segment last night. He scoffs at people who look at him as a hero or an inspiration. He says just go to Walter Reed and see those boys that have lost limbs and made real sacrifices; those are the heroes. Louis, that may be true, but you're without a doubt an inspirational man, like it or not!
I've just finished John Grisham's The Confession. Not one of his better ones, I didn't think. Preachy. Very anti-death-penalty. The story was good for a while then got predictable. Wait for the paperback and read it on the beach this summer. Light fare.
Up next on my shelf? Justice Denied by Jim Brown. Brown was the popular Insurance Commissioner of Louisiana who was charged in 1999 with insurance fraud. The prevailing opinion is that the charges were fabricated, he was railroaded in typical Louisiana political fashion and ultimately over 90% of the charges against him were cleared. His is a fascinating story.
For the rest of my day I'm off to make preparations for tomorrow's Christmas dinner. And my mother wants to go to the grocery store. This should be an adventure. Christmas Eve. Grocery store. Mom on a walker with barely enough strength to get from one room of her house to the other. She wants to go walk through Albertsons. Thank goodness she doesn't want to go to WalMart.
If I don't pop back in before the big day, Merry Christmas to all.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I'm about to run out before the crowds start stirring and finish up some last minute Christmas shopping and take care of a couple of other errands and then plan on hunkering down until the holiday is over!
I have plenty on my reading table to keep me busy. I've just finished Condoleezza Rice's book, Extraordinary, Ordinary People. I thought it was a lovely tribute to her parents and her upbringing. It reveals a great deal about the woman herself. After I finished it I looked at some of the reviews on Amazon, just out of curiosity and some were disgruntled because it wasn't about her service with Bush. That one is yet to come. Rice inked a two book deal with Crown and this one was to be about her parents and her upbringing in segregated Birmingham, her tenure as provost of Stanford, and into her early political service. All in all, it was a lovely read.
Now I'm on to Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken. You'll remember I recommended highly Louis Zamperini's own version of this tale, Devil at My Heels. I wanted to read his version of his own experience first. Once I started Zamperini's book, I couldn't put it down. What a story! Hillenbrand is rounding out the rest of the story and adding some research and background. I'm halfway through right now and thoroughly enjoying it. I'm glad I read Zamperini's book first, though. They ought to be a companion set. I'm sure there's a movie not far behind.
My reading stack is towering when I finish this one. I have Bobby Jindal's book, Leadership and Crisis sitting by. I also have Jim Brown's Justice Denied.
I have a couple of fiction works in there as well, and Stephen King's latest book of four short stories.
Lots to read! And lots of time to read over the next two weeks!
As for now, I'm off to finish shopping then back to see what I've missed in the political world over the past couple of days.
Monday, December 20, 2010
"Ah," he says. "Is this your 'winter' crud?"
Why, yes. Yes it is.
He checks me over, prescribes the ritual antibiotics and Celestone shot and says,
"Call me if the fever spikes. See you in March!"
Needless to say, regular blogging will resume shortly. Off to bed now.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
I, of course, of COURSE, was fine Friday but woke up Saturday feeling like I'd been run over and with a deep chest cough. I'll be making an appointment with the doctor tomorrow because I can tell THIS one needs antibiotics and ASAP.
Two more days of school. Finals.
Here's a quick FJMRA because it's been a busy weekend in Washington and there's lots out there to see:
Let's start off with some pretty pictures from SWAC Girl!
Stacy reports on the end of the DREAM Act and the repeal of DADT. Jimmie Bise has comments.
Pirate's Cove notes the NYT concern for Obama's policy in light of the DREAM defeat.
No Sheeples Here has a beautiful Christmas roundup.
Reaganite Republican takes you back to the 60s with The Troggs.
Don't miss Doug Ross's Child's First Book of Government Regulations! A sure classic.
Pundette's prayers have been answered!
It's a beautiful day in Mind Numbed Robot's neighborhood.
Legal Insurrection has yet another incredible entry in his Saturday Night Card Game.
The Daley Gator has some timely pointers for drinkers.
Critical Narrative notes the passing of Blake Edwards.
And finally, don't miss this column from Sarah about your furry friends!
It's back to bed for me. If I rest up enough today I might be able to get through finals tomorrow and off to a doctor after that. The good news is that my Christmas shopping and baking is all done! Just R 'n R from here on out.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and enjoy the season!
Friday, December 17, 2010
Michelle Malkin kept watch last night and has the commentary.
On today's agenda: the START debate begins today, to be followed by the DREAM Act and DADT. Malkin has the call to action on the DREAM Act here.
(More at Memeorandum.)
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Recipe here. Check the comments there, too, for some helpful hints, like unwrapping the candy and drying the cherries before you begin assembling. Also, when pressing the candy to the cherry, position it in such a way that the eyes will show up when you put them on; if that chocolate stripe is in the wrong place, the eyes won't show up.
Here's a video of how easy it is.
Several "Republicans" had added their two cents worth as well, including Mitch McConnell who has included a request for "$650,000 for a genetic technology center at the University of Kentucky." Sen. Lindsey Graham "has a $379,000 earmark to study port dredging in Charleston."
Fox News mentioned two "Republicans" who have over 200 earmarks apiece in this thing, but I didn't catch who they were. I'll find them today.
As egregious and offensive as the earmarks from BOTH sides, Harry Reid's insistence that it be passed immediately is even worse. He's learned nothing from the November elections and the voices of the people who clearly insisted that proposed legislation actually be read by those voting on it, be debated, amended, and transparent to the people. Words fail me at his audacity. Fail.
What are the bets now that should Congress work through the Christmas break on this thing that Obama goes on to Hawaii anyway?
Follow the aggravation aggregation on Memorandum today.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Considering that my head is about to explode and that I should definitely be drinking, I probably shouldn't even be typing my name right now, much less attempting to read the Proof-That-Harry-Reid-Has-Lost-His-Mind Crap-Laden-One-Way-Ticket-To-The-Loony-Bin-For-Life Omnibus bill.
No, I'm not drunk, but I oughta be to get through this piece of bovine excrement spending bill.
Is he freakin' CRAZY? Don't answer that.
Is he KIDDING here? Don't answer that, either.
And what in the HELL is wrong with these "Republicans" who are thinking about going along with this crap-sandwich?
Did they learn NOTHING from the November election? Let me suggest that this is way, WAY out of the scope and function of a lame duck Congress. Way way. There is no freakin' way that this thing should go through as is. Who in the hell is going to read a 2,000 page piece of crap like this ever, much less right now when they're all trying to get out of there for Christmas?
Talk about waking up in some parallel universe...
Okay. Well let's just look at some of the tasty tidbits in this thing, shall we?
Red State has posted the following earmarks as posted on Twitter by Senator John McCain:
$247,000 - Virus free grapes in Washington State
$413,000 - Peanut research in Alabama
$125,000 - Fishery equipment for the Guam Fisherman’s Cooperative Association
$349,000 - Swine waste management in North Carolina
$277,000 - Potato pest management in Wisconsin
$246,000 - Bovine tuberculosis treatment in Michigan and Minnesota
$522,000 - Cranberry and blueberry disease
$500,000 - Oyster safety in Florida
$165,000 for maple syrup research in Vermont
$400,000 for solar parking canopies and plug-in electric stations in Kansas
Read the bill here, because you know your Senator won't.
How about the formation of a fact-finding Commission to study and investigate the Federal government's detention and holding of some 2,300 Latin Americans of Japanese descent during WWII? (p. 231)
How about $1,000,000 to watch water evaporate in the desert? (p. 450). How in the hell do I get THAT job?
I'll keep digging through this. Feel free to join me and post whatever you find.
Keep in mind, Harry Reid wants to smack this crap sandwich down on your Christmas table right next to your turkey and your (lame) duck dinner. He wants no discussion, no reading, no analysis, no transparency.
Thanks so much, Nevada, for re-electing this buffoon.
(More reaction at Memeorandum)
Update $2,600,000 for an agricultural pest facility in Hawaii. (p. 89).
After school each day I have a list of errands that must be done because our family Christmas is this weekend. In the evening I'm baking and cooking up a storm. Somehow in all of this the house has to be cleaned and ready for the Christmas onslaught. I love Christmas, but it's a LOT of work!
So you can see why blogging has been light. Traffic is in "holiday suckage" mode, too, so I guess it's all okay.
I'd love to write about the strike down of Obamacare yesterday but one look at Memeorandum shows that everyone on the planet already has it covered. I'll just add this: I don't think this decision will help the liberals understand that it's not that Republicans don't want health care reform - we do. We just don't want THIS one. We don't want the mandate (among other things.) Liberals paint Republicans and evil, unfeeling creatures who want the poor and the suffering to continue in that condition. They paint Republicans as wanting to keep everyone else down while lifting up the wealthy. Obama's ire and rancor does nothing to appease this. They'll see the same thing in this ruling as Republicans cheer this victory. That's just not the case.
Never forget: Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats crafted this bill behind closed doors with no Republican input and infused it with kickbacks, payoffs and a multitude of incentives for votes. Nobody read it. Nobody really knew what was in it.
We're a long way from repeal, still, but hopefully this decision is a first step toward a health care plan that is palatable for everyone.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Let's get to the links and then I can hit the stores before the crowds get out!
Doug Ross details Hezbollah in Venezuela.
Jimmie Bise adds to the growing list of horror stories out of the British Health Care System.
No Sheeples Here announces new responsibilities for the ShamWow guy.
Don't miss Ed Driscoll's "The Unmaking of a President."
Sister Toldjah reports on the bombing in Sweden.
The Pirate's Cove looks at ethanol subsidies.
Fishersville Mike has a climategate carol.
Sarah has had it with the jerks in Douglasville and is staying inside until next year. I'm with ya, girl!
This is hilarious: Professor Jacobson's latest installment in the Saturday Night Card game. No words.
Red is almost ready to fall back into the ranks! Go Comcast!
Do you know what the "trusted traveler agreement' is? Take your blood pressure meds and go check out DaTechGuy.
And finally, Reaganite Republican has his Sunday Funnies.
And now I'm off to Target and Old Navy to finish up a couple of things, then home to make pralines and more fruitcake cookies. Stay toasty warm where you are and enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
We had a lovely afternoon, despite my video foibles. I gave Milly her Christmas gift: a Diana Thorne print of a little Boston Terrier with some toys. I had it framed and Milly loved it:
Milly has spent the past couple of weeks unpacking boxes and boxes (and boxes) of glassware which is now spread all throughout the third floor:
I loved this little nativity scene:
I'd never heard of "Vaseline Glass" as Milly called it before, but she was excited about these candlesticks. Apparently they glow in the dark under a black light. She had several pieces of this, also known as "Uranium glass":
Need some artwork for your walls?
That one is entitled "Heaven." Or this one, entitled "The Watch on the Rine":
I fell in love with this little curio cabinet so Steve bought it for me for Christmas:
Milly had a stack of these cute landscapes; they're about 10 x 12, I guess:
How about a fur coat?
This was a neat little Christmas tree - it's about eight or ten inches high:
Loved this funny monkey:
Salt and pepper shakers:
We were all about Christmas today; Milly and I have been scheming for a couple of months now over this Urania German typewriter that Steve fell in love with on a previous visit. I'd paid for it but had her hold it for me. On our last visit, she had a "Sold" sign on the typewriter and table and she told Steve that "some lady" had put it on lay-a-way and hadn't come to get it yet. He accepted that answer and we went on with our visit. Today, I'd called ahead and had Milly put a red bow on the typewriter so I could go ahead and give it to Steve and we'd take it with us.
So we lead him to be back of the store on the pretense of looking at "some old tools," and we come upon the typewriter. Milly explains again that "this lady bought it for her husband...." and Steve says incredulously, "And she NEVER came to get it?!" We died laughing and he finally caught on. He was surprised!
These fishing gators are cute:
The dogs, Heidi and Rosalea, were glad to see us:
That one's a little overexposed, but I like it anyway.
So, in the end, we walked out of there with Steve's typewriter and table, my flamingo pin, the curio cabinet, a neat stained glass magnolia night light, an unidentified (for now) Christmas gift for a family member, and a couple of other little things. Milly gave me an iron cross with brass bells (a wind chime, but too pretty to hang outside).
If you see anything you can't live without here or in the previous posts, give Milly at call at 318.371.9830 and she'll ship it right out to you.
And here is Milly singing White Christmas (the part that didn't get cut off, anyway...)
(Here is the sideways video if you really want to see it.)