Archive for May, 2008
Whoa! Arnie responds with quickness and copies the HANO contact.
Hello Arnie Fielkow!
My name is Lance “Varg” Vargas and I am a local folk artist and blogger. I am writing to you today because I have a simple question. What do you do when a light bulb goes out in your house? Change it right? Next to mowing the lawn or buying groceries, it is a simple household chore that folks all over the world partake in.
So I was wondering what was going on at Fischer Homes over in my district, the Fighting Fourth? I wrote to Jackie Clarkson about it a while back and didn’t hear back from her. I know she’s busy. So instead of hounding her and seeming like a real weirdo, I thought I would just move on up the ladder and the buck stops at you right? I’d ask James Carter but he doesn’t return my e-mails either.
Sorry, I got off track complaining about correspondence. See, all the lightbulbs have gone out across the front of the Fischer development. Probably many of the ones inside too but I couldn’t really say as all I can see is from the road. Lined up across the front are lamposts with large glass bulbs and inside all the lights have gone out. I mean all of them across the front. Back when I wrote to Jackie, there were four still lit but now they are all out. Shame too as they are nice and look expensive. I remarked to Jackie that one of them looked like it wa shit by a car and noticed that has been fixed.
I would really just chalk the whole thing up to the “Care Forgot” asthetic of my beutifully entropic city but there is soemthing that doesn’t sit right with me about it.
See, back in Decemeber, I recall the development being touted as the future of New Orleans housing in lieu of the previous “Big 4″ structures across the city, but now we can’t even get it together to do change the lightbulbs. If there wasn’t going to be any effort put into the new public housing, I can’t see why anyone would have voted to tear down the old stuff.
I know you aren’t in chage of HANO but how about getting on the horn and getting someone down there?
If poor upkeep and maitenance is the future then it sounds a whole lot like the past! Whoa! Hey!
Also, tell Jackie that I forgive her for for not writing me back in March. She probably thought I was crazy! Tell her I’m not crazy, I’m just a blogger!
Keep up the good work on the council and I’ll see YOU in the Mayor’s race for 2010 right? Right? Ha! I’m messin with ya!
P.S. I’m posting this letter and your response on my blog at www.thechicory.com.
Jeffrey has one of the qualities I most admire in a person and a conversationalist – an unwavering devotion to critical thought. This is often challenged on at least a weekly basis in his comment sections and sometimes he changes his original stance and sometimes he doesn’t. Whichever the case, I read his blog everyday because I know I am not reading something equivalent to a mob mentality.*
So with that said, I am sure he will appreciate it when I disagree with on a fundamental level his assessment that Nagin’s aids racking up more than $150,000 on city expense accounts paid for by the taxpayers is somehow less of an issue than the botched 311 story that ran on WWL last week. He called the former story “shrill sensationalism of explainable petty bullshit” and said it would make future criticism of valid issues less effective. How it would make them less effective is not addressed. Not even in the comments.
Even without the details (and yes the amount of money involved is disproportionate) of either story being taken in to consideration, what he’s doing is playing a zero-sum game. Just because focus is placed on one issue, it doesn’t mean it is immediately withdrawn from another. Rather, both the stories are the same, government waste of taxpayer money in the Mayor’s office. They both count to that point. One counts toward waste via incompetence and/or cronysm, the other toward waste via smoothies and Morton’s steaks.
As a voter who is growing increasingly wary of government waste on all levels, both stories were incendiary. Here’s why the local media did an excellent job communicating the same general issue via two stories. The 311 story connects with an analytical, connected readership, those (like the mob of bloggers) who examine and keep an eye on many of the office’s business deals. And with each of these people I imagine there are a few others who rely on them for local scuttlebutt, people with whom they get together with on a porch or at a coffee shop and carry on about what’s happening in the city. Then those people have a few others and the story gets spread around. The Fourth Estate has accomplished its task.
The Morton’s story connects with those same people but also a lesser informed (and by this I don’t mean stupid) readership who can quickly relate to government officials running up expense accounts on the taxpayer’s dime via meals at fancy restaurants. It has the ability to reach a lot of people who may not know the inner dealings of 311 but can easily imagine outrageous expenses on a credit card. It’s a quick, sexy story, yes. But it isn’t a straw man. It is the same story communicated in two ways to two different portions of citizenship.
Local media’s responsibility ends once the message is delivered. It is up to the citizenship to act upon it. How we proceed is entirely up to us. I am guilty of simply sitting here and lamenting how outrageous the whole thing is and then doing nothing but blogging and hoping 2010 gets here soon.
I am particularly pissed at myself for the whole Home Depot deal a few weeks back. Sure, the Mayor’s office would feed the same bullshit over and over again but what about The Home Depot? Couldn’t a publicly traded big box store have some sort of responsibility toward its shareholders for conducting questionable business deals with 18 year old kids? I should have wrote to the company and investigated a little more but then true life came in and it slipped away.
I suppose the larger point is that whether the Mayor is inept or corrupt, he seems to be wasting a ton of taxpayer money. So long as that message is communicated clearly to the citizenship by the local media, it shouldn’t matter how, or in what context, it is done.
That said, I will do my best to tell anyone who will listen about how tossed-up the 311 contract is.
*This cyber collective consciousness is actually the dirty little secret about ours and many other “blogospheres.” By nature, they are often comprised of like-minded people writing about like-minded subjects. So once a truth (by this I mean something accepted as truth, right or wrong) gets released into the program, it stays there until, like Newton’s law, something acts upon it to change it.
13 05 2008Varg in AV, tags: 2008 election, john mccain, meet the press, Terry McAuliffe, tim russert
He thinks Hillary Clinton’s campaign is still alive and Tim Russert’s dad is dead.
I heard him say it and thought, “Oh, I didn’t know Big Russ died.” Come to find out he is very much alive and in a Barcolounger somewhere.
And speaking of mortality, check this blog about things that are younger than John McCain…
…look like no levees to me!
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
- Ya boy Varg will be peddling salvaged wood folk art tomorrow from 12 – 5 at the Freret Market Uptown. He will have a clearence basket where items that need to be moved will be sold from $5 on up. Come by and just say hi as many bloggers before you have. Twenty percent of all profits from tomorrow go to the Morris Fam so come on out.
- Or if ya can’t make it out that Early, my girl Romy Kaye will be singing at Carrollton Station around 9:30 and will be followed by a nice funk band so y’all can check us there. I’ll buy any one who reads these words a beer. If ya wanna taste of Romy’s voice, check it here.
- Oooorrr, if ya don’t feel like even screwin’ around with Uptown, check Sexxy Rexxy’s Paint Party in the heart of the Marigny/ By water area all day long. I’d be there myself if I wasn’t at that other event. Details are copied and pasted below…
07 05 2008Varg in USA, tags: cyclone, fema, hurricane, katrina, myanmar, new orleans
The very obvious thing to think in light of so many dead is to realize the minimal damage sustained here. But it’s hard to do that even though the numbers speak for themselves. It’s unconscionable to compare victims of disasters yet it is almost the first thing that pops into many people’s heads. It happens instantly. Comparisons between Louisiana and Mississippi, comparisons between fires in San Diego and floods in New Orleans. People do it all the time, not saying it’s right. Not saying we shouldn’t fight to build adequate flood protection. Not saying we shouldn’t demand better and more.
Though it does cause one to stop and think (once again) how thankful he should be to live in a developed country. Not so much America or the West (because there is a strong stigma attached to bragging about one’s country though it happens all the damn time), but simply living in a country that is developed socially, economically and structurally. Perhaps this flies in the face of images during Katrina that showed flooded victims standing on their roofs but, they had roofs to stand on and for many, those roofs saved their lives.
Hurricane Katrina swept through a heavily populated delta region the same as Cyclone Nargis swept through the Irrawaddy Delta. Is there a Weather Channel there? Contraflow? Mandatory Evacuations? Comfort Inns? Fema? Army Corps of Engineers?
All the recessions, crooked politicians, dead fetuses, foreclosures, high gas prices and crime rates here in the West pale in comparison to Myanmar. Aid in New Orleans came late at the expense of lives but it did indeed come.
I’m not trying to take the “better them than us” path here. I just wish, as I hear daily about how awful it is here in the United States (often from media and on the Internet but sometimes from friends), that people would realize the percentile in which many of us live within.
Often I feel like a fortunate son.
06 05 2008Varg in Haps, tags: lee harvey oswald, mass media, Media, new orleans crime
To follow up the binary videos featured below, here are binary images to conclude binary posts featuring binary media files.
Famous image of Lee Harvey Oswald that convicted him in many people’s eyes after the Kennedy assassination…
It may help the prosecution if they show this photo as many times as possible during the trial.
DISCLAIMER: Not saying either of these gentlemen are innocent or guilty, just noting the effect of media.
When “New Orleans” is entered into YouTube and the search is sorted by relevance. This video appears first.
Second? Bounce baby bounce!
It’s been blogged about before but it needs to be blogged about again. I am a huge mark for the NPR show “This American Life.” There is something about the content, production, music, narration and theme that speaks right down into my tender little soul and touches it in sentimental ways.
So, to give a little back to this great radio show that plays on WWNO from 5-6 on Sundays, I wanted to post that there will be a live This American Life event at two Greater New Orleans theaters in the area tonight.
AMC Westbank Palace 16
AMC Elmwood Palace 20
And if you can’t make the events, make sure you check this great episode that you can stream…
They also have a Katrina episode that I haven’t yet listened to so I can’t vouch for…