Archive for November, 2011

Maybe it’s because I’m reading / watching a lot of Joe Campbell lately but I am looking for the narrative in everything these days. And for me, in sports, the narrative is the best part. The long story arch of a franchise over time, a team’s single season struggles, the changing of leads through a game, a player’s rise or descent from the bench to starter and back.Patron Saint of Lost Causes

And the narrative for the New Orleans Saints through the rest of 2011 is rich indeed.

Think of them as the “soul takers.” They are Santa Muerta. They are Azrael, worshipers of Shiva, the Great Destroyer. Beginning with last night’s demoralizing defeat of the New York Giants, the Saints will now face three more teams in the next four weeks that are hoping for a wildcard birth and a chance at Super Bowl glory.

Any win against any of these teams will be more than just a win. Not only will each victory elevate the Saints a notch in the playoff picture and knock back their opponent but will also give the Saints the half point advantage in a tie due to head-to-head victories.

The Saints can take into these battles the experience of a recent Super Bowl victory but also the shame of last year’s first round playoff defeat, wounded warriors they.

And their foes?

Already vanquished was the last-Manning-standing New York Giants, a team that, when defeated in 2006 and 2009 has been a harbinger of deep playoff runs. The Giants now stand on the outside looking in on the playoff picture and it doesn’t get any easier for them this week vs. Green Bay at home. I’m actually pulling for them. Would love to see them back in the Dome in the first round. If we don’t catch the Niners of course.

Next up, a perennial loser franchise in Detroit that started strong but has been showing weakness as of late with a distraction on the Defensive line perhaps giving Drew Brees plenty of time to throw any number of touchdown passes. The Lions are also on the wrong side of the playoff standings. If they want to make the Playoffs for the first time in a decade or even perhaps win a playoff game for the first time since, I don’t know, I was a VIRGIN … then they’ll need to overcome the Angels of Death that are the Saints on Sunday. Further narrative can be found in this match up via the old “Christians thrown to the Lions” and “former perennial loser vs. current perennial loser” match ups.

Then, as if dashing the hopes of NFC teams weren’t enough, The Saints can blow into the AFC picture and badly damage the Titans hopes of getting in. The playoff picture is a little more competitive over there so any loss is going to hurt those teams. In the NFC it’s looking like two teams out of the Saints, Bears, Cowboys, Falcons, Giants and Lions won’t make it in. In the AFC it’s deeper than that as only two games separate the #1 seed and missing the playoffs with 10 teams still in the hunt. Perhaps the Titans will already be out of it by the time we play them though.

Not in contention but still a great narrative will be the Vikes week after next in Minnesota.

Then, a very good Atlanta team in a vendetta kind of mood following their loss at home earlier this year and a bad record versus Payton / Brees in general. Atlanta faces the Texans this weekend and then the schedule eases up for them with the exception of the Saints at home on Boxing Day. I will personally oversee the destruction!

Of course, the narrative could be that the teams are going to be playing their hearts out against the Saints who seem to have some issue with really staying motivated. Either way, the football’s going to be good!

A final note, if the Saints get the first round game at home it will fall right in with the Sugar Bowl and BCS championship, making it three amazing football events in one week at the Dome.

I am assuming after Montgomery Ward’s “Rudolph” and Jack Rollins and Steve Nelson’s “Frosty” earned mad cash for their creators, this fella Lou Monte figured the next logical step would be to get in on the action with “Dominic the Donkey.” I guess for every Soundgarden and Nirvana you get a Candlebox. For every Star Wars and Star Trek you get a “Battle Beyond the Stars“… a rip-off that’s just a little late and a little less good.

Edit: Had to add this shaky Raleigh footage of the same fresh faced kid, a little less hair, a little more weight, a decade and change later, doing that Letterman song at one of those “City” concerts and the crowd is still loving it and he’s still feeling it damnit. Oh, Rock! You have given so much to us.

A portrait of the Beowulf monster Grendel as he is written in the 1971 novel “Grendel.” Title of the piece is lifted from a line in the book. Composition is directly depicted from cover portrait on paperback version of the novel by Emil Antonucci.

On rough-hewn heart pine wall stud salvaged in New Orleans.

Original painting by Antonucci below…

I have probably made the New Orleans to Pensacola / Pensacola to New Orleans drive down 1-10 a hundred times in my life. I know it takes 3 hours almost exactly. I have seen the “Rocketships of Mobile” sprout from their skyline. I have seen the old Twin Spans go down and the new ones come up. I always comment how Brett Favre grew up in Kiln. I evacuated from Katrina down that way and crept on back a few weeks later. I have mistakenly drifted down I-59, stoned and confused. I have stopped in Biloxi for some slots. I have said “fuck it” and taken HWY 90 the whole way (it takes three times as long but is worth it).

One of the sites along the way is always the Billboards around Biloxi advertising which artist is doing the Casino circuit. There are frequent appearances by Pat Benatar and Sinbad and something called Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

The acts have stepped up a notch in recent years with the addition of the Hard Rock Casino. I think it may have reached its peak on Dec. 3 because Judas Priest is coming.

To many people, Priest may seem like just another metal band from the ’80s but to metal fans they are really in rare air. They weren’t a hair, band they were METAL. Like Dio. Like Dokken. Like Sabbath.

And the Biloxi show? It’s sold out. But that’s okay, because the real fun will be out in the parking lot. Because not only is Priest held in such high regard among Metal fans. They are also responsible for the best underground VHS tape EVER, EVER, EVER. Simply titled, “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.”

Sproadic clips can be found on YouTube. Among the highlights, “Zebra Man” Who extols the virtues of Metal and disses punbk and Madonna whom he refers to as a “dick.” This remains the only time I have ever heard a woman referred to as a “dick.”

See if you can figure out the funniest part about this clip featuring David who, before he departs for a career in the armed forces is “ready to rock.”

Finally, this woman comes about as close as possible to the living embodiment of my inner voice as I’ve seen. Except that part about fucking Rob Halford of course…

Also, be sure to catch “Graham-like-gram-of-dope-and-shit.”

Prison guards, inmate detail brutality inside jail

“Everyone was smoking crack,” Picou said.

Picou said inmates constantly threatened to kill him, usually for being white

These two lines are almost identical to a colloquial report I heard a few weeks ago from a fella that spent 60 days in OPP. Almost exactly. Completely different guy. Same shit though.

Between this and the consistent dismissal of murder victims as having lengthy criminal records (as if that makes it less bad) and Gusman’s pleas for a better facility to lock people up …well …it makes me wonder why anyone thinks criminal justice isn’t the cause of, rather than the solution to crime in New Orleans. It makes me wonder if the deteriorating conditions aren’t being permitted to drive home the supposed need for a new prison?

What you see above would appear at first glance to be a mural of Drew Brees and Deuce McCallister. But upon closer inspection, you will see that it actually been modified (using the time honored painting method of using electrical tape) from a Brees / Reggie Bush Mural. I first noticed this General Meyer Avenue mural back in 2007 and immediately thought the artist had depicted Bush on the heavier side and felt it more resembled McCallister.

Well, the Universe has a way with things sometimes and though the arc was long, it bent toward justice as Reggie was traded and I suppose either the artist or the store owner had such animosity toward Bush that they felt the need to erase his image from the painting. Why there wasn’t a bit of thought put into this before hand I’m not sure.

One has to think the commission of a piece of Saints art is much like a Jersey choice, you want a player or players that are going to maintain their value. Same goes for teams who order them. You don’t want to end up like the Seahawks. A Brees jersey is a safe bet as are an Archie Manning or a Rickey Jackson. I have a Tracey Porter because his heroic role is secure pretty much no matter what.

It’s weird to me that last season there were thousands of Bush and Jeremy Shockey jerseys out on the street but after both players left the team there are still more Shockey jerseys out there. Bush seems like a pariah even though he contributed a lot charitably to the city and has showed more character than Shockey.