Monday, January 28, 2008

MEME: Monday Music Mambo -- Let It Snow...

Rfduck, chief Drake at this here 'Monday Music Mambo' pond, lets fly a cold, wet one, thusly:
"Hello everyone! It's snowing where I live, so today's Mambo will be snow-themed."

1. They say every snowflake is unique. Name a musician who you think is unique and sounds like no one else.

Joe Cocker isn't going to EVER be mistaken for any one else when singing. There are some others that come close, but his unique combination of voice, inflection and phrasing makes a song his own.

2. Snowfall covers everything in sight. Tell us about a cover song you enjoy.

If you've read this blog any length of time, you should be able to predict these answers, ;) Make mine Suzanne, written by Leonard Cohen and covered by just about everybody at one time in their musical careers.

3. It snows a lot in Canada. Tell us your favorite Canadian musician.

My absolute favorite is the aforementioned Leonard Cohen, but Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell are tied for second place.

4. Watching the snow fall can be very peaceful. Name a song that brings you peace.

Lots of songs do, depending on my mood and blood pressure and glucose level...
How about Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain"?

Speaking of rain, we've been having rainy weather here in Cajun Country, about 3" worth last week alone. The rivers, streams and bayous are all lush with moisture. There was a real toad-strangler on Saturday night that caused the horses to seek shelter next to the trailer in a little lean-to off the back of the shed where I park the "Busted Moose" at night. They were rather rambunctious in their enthusiasm to make life absolutely miserable for the usual occupant of the lean-to -- a big tom turkey the owner bought one year as a poult to fatten for Thanksgiving but then couldn't bear to kill. Seems his 60+ pound carcass was not appreciated underfoot by the horses, so they kicked at him and kicked until he lamely stood out in the rain. Poor old bird - he's all bruised up and was so bedraggled when I saw him Sunday...

I've been sick the past week with pinkeye and now what I suspect is strep throat. Damn snotty-nosed kids are walking Petri dishes and the cultures they're festering gore just love yours truly. I've been sicker since coming down here in November more than the past four years combined. To add insult to injury, the baby is over his pinkeye, while mine persists and we came down with it only a day apart.

There's been some cold weather, too, with snow falling over much of the northern half of Louisiana for a time last week. We had sleet one night here just as we were headed from the house to our trailer for the night. And we've been going through LP gas bottles at a steady clip. Fortunately, there's a good hardware store nearby that refills them.

My wife's work is decidedly unhappy that she needs more time to recover from what ails her and has put her on unpaid leave. Oh joy, we get to COBRA our health insurance for the next couple of months, to the tune of a couple of grand a month. Sadly, going without isn't an option, as I'd never be able to get full coverage insurance again, nor would she. Hell of a racket, the health industry and health insurance.

The repairs seem to be holding up, with a minor exception of a piece of trim that succumbed to the toe of my slipper the first night. Still too sick to pick up our stuff at the daughter's as her son had eye surgery in December and has a weakened immune system - so my approach with conjunctivitis onboard is a no-no. I'd really like to hit the road and see someplace that doesn't involve SNK's.* I'm tired of sitting in one place, dependent on family and subject to all these diseases.

Heard from the Pet Spa at home. The Cats are doing wonderfully, eating like the wee piglets they are and running up a tab that will require taking out a second mortgage when we get back. The phone at the house has gone berserk and is issuing a constant busy signal, but our neighbors assure us no one is at home.

Oh well, it still beats shoveling snow... Hope you enjoyed your snow, Russ.

SNK = Snotty-nosed kids

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday Music Mambo -- Hug A Snake Day

RFDuck extracted his beak from his rain slicker long enough to mutter, " Sorry the mambo is up late! Today is National Hugging Day."

"Name three musicians you want to hug, and one you don't want to hug."

"That's all for today. Thanks for mamboing!"

  1. Leonard Cohen - For the hours of pleasure he's given me (that sounds SO WRONG).
  2. Bob Dylan -- For the years of listening pleasure he's given the denizens of this mud ball...
  3. Melanie -- Just because she is.
And the anti-hug of the musical world -- Gene Simmons. The man's tongue just creeps me out.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Brrr.... It's Almost Cold (And the promised update)

Blew a gale here on Saturday morning. Picked up 2 1/2" of rain with the heavy winds. Interesting driving -- seems like it never occurred to the local road builders to crown the pavement sufficiently to allow drainage from the inevitable ruts created by the heavy traffic, particularly on the concrete roads so prevalent here. Some really impressive hydro-planing results. Fun ... not.

Cleared out about mid-morning and started getting colder. Hit a low of 29 overnight. Ground surface still too warm to freeze, but standing water puddles froze with skim ice - some Louisianians are now convinced that global warming is a myth cooked up by freezing Yankees to extract oil price concessions from Southern refineries. (Not so - we all want cheaper gas!)

Back up to the low 30's after the sun came up, but I'm sure the damage was done - muy mucho frozen and/or busted pipes. Stopped by the Flea Market of Louisiana (no link available) yesterday afternoon and the venders were absolutely miserable. We ended up having to put the kids back in the van after 20 minutes -- they were approaching hypothermia.

So far, the repairs are satisfactory, so I'd give the RV Service Center (new name on Jan. 1st - formerly Family RV Center, LLC) of Walker, Louisiana, a qualified 3 out of 5 stars. The repairs were performed in a workmanlike manner. They used factory manufactured parts whenever possible. The quality of the part(s) manufactured on-site is fair to good (they really aren't skilled cabinet makers). The negatives have to do with failed promises and unrealistic estimates of what the work entailed, resulting in having to request supplemental funds for the work done from the insurance company. (My cost remained the same. If there hadn't been an insurance company footing the bill, I suspect the results would not have been as satisfactory -- an additional 10 days and over a thousand dollars above the original estimate for nearly double the amount of labor originally estimated. And then there's the cost of motels for an additional 10 days over the original 4 working day estimate, some of which is attributable to weekends and sickness of the employee doing the cabinetry. Still, it means an additional grand in motel and food costs and the possible loss of my wife's job due to the likely miss of a mandatory return-to-work date. All collateral consequences of the delays in completion of the job.)

Meme: Unconcious Mutterings -- Week 259

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. President :: Lincoln (Nope, no idea why that popped into mind, either)
  2. Stare :: Stony
  3. Embrace :: hug
  4. Movie :: Tears of the Sun (last night's DVD - after all, this is Country Music country...
  5. Everything :: 50% off!
  6. Profile :: like a brick outhouse...
  7. Satire :: Jonathan Swift
  8. Erratic :: driving
  9. Costume :: Ball
  10. Secretary :: ditto

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Damned Yankees

Here's a forecast you don't see very often in Baton Rouge:


Hi 46°F


Mostly Clear
Lo 27°F

A 50 percent chance of snow showers before noon. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 46. North wind between 10 and 15 mph. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 27. North wind around 10 mph.

Can't blame me for bringing this with me, either -- I've been here for over two months!

Picked up the trailer on Thursday afternoon. Of course, the better half is getting sick again, so I've been doing all the packing and setting to rights. Repairs effected and complete. It survived the monsoon rains we got last night -- now let's see if they did the insulation right (heh, heh, heh - not likely. It's Louisiana after all -- they put their bloody pipes above ground, for Jack Frost's sake!).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Maybe, just maybe...

They called this morning. Supposedly, our Airstream is finished. Only a week longer than promised (par for the course down here, it seems).

We'll be leaving in a little while to pick it up. I'll let you know if the repairs are satisfactory.

Keep your toes and fingers crossed...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Go ahead - yank her chain once more -- I dare ya!

My wife is a short-tempered beast with all bureaucrats, ignoramii and anyone else who gets in her way of providing quality patient care. The rest of the time, she tries very hard to be even tempered, even when she is sorely tempted to rip someone's head off and stuff it down the gaping hole in their neck.

So, imagine the supreme restraint she has had to exhibit when dealing with the local board of nursing whose employees took a double dose of the dumbass and refused to cooperate with the simple task of renewing her license. Rather than treating her as inactive in the great state of Louisiana, they decided she has been delinquent since 2001!

OK - so after driving down to New Orleans to the board, she is then informed that only a certified copy of our marriage certificate will be sufficient evidence to change the last name on her Louisiana nurses license to her current name. Only problem involved is the amount of time needed to acquire said marriage certificate. Go through Maine's vital records and it'll take 7 to 10 business days after receipt of payment. Maine doesn't fax copies of vital records -- only originals are acceptable. And so it goes.

Keep an eye on the news. If you hear of a crazed nurse taking out the security windows at the Louisiana Board of Nursing, you'll know why...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

We don't need no steenkin wires...

Heard from the repair shop yesterday (original estimated completion date). Seems it is taking a lot longer than anticipated. May be Friday or early next week, now. Living out of motels is getting very old and very expensive. I miss my tin can home, alot...

Took much longer to remove the inner fender than expected. I suspect they have tried to do it without completely removing the galley cabinets and sink, which would be an enormous waste of time. Then comes the clincher. The long wires that were ripped out were indeed the power supply and neutral to the second double pole-double throw switch that controls the water pump. Seems that when manufactured, Airstream installed that long wiring run before they installed the outer skin. Replacing it would entail removing said outer skin and destruction of the factory watertight seals - not a good thing. Compromise was necessary. Have agreed to abandon the double switch circuit for a small bezel and lighted switch below the hanging locker door that might be reachable while seated on the throne with your toe...

Off to New Orleans, now that all the BCS championship crazies have left town and freed up some motel rooms. We spent the past weekend on the Gulf of Mexico in the Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Shores, area that was so badly devastated by Katrina. It is changed forever. Gone are the honky-tonks, restaurants, souvenir shops, motels, rental houses, and the easy-going, beach culture. It's as though the heart has been torn right out of the region. The US and state governments have been extremely slow releasing disaster recovery funds. Insurance companies have weaseled out of paying for any damage to structures located within 3 or 4 blocks of the beach, claiming it was all wave action, rather than winds, that destroyed the buildings. Thousands have been bankrupted and left homeless as a result. We're not talking about the hoodlums and hoi poloi of the Ninth District in New Orleans that were flooded out when the levees broke. Nope, we're talking whole families, business owners and operators, whole beach communities and the infrastructure along the beach. Here and there, a travel trailer is setup, laying claim to the land that once hosted their home. No water, no sewer, no lights/electricity available yet. Just one small stretch of Gulfport is getting new sidewalks and street lights -- it's costing over 2 million dollars. Bringing back whole communities is going to be very difficult. It is enough to make you cry, a year and a half after the storm.

More when the spirit moves and I have access to wifi.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Seventies Song Suxsations

After a three month hiatus, I return to the Monday Mambo. This week, Russ/rfduck has scuttled the (unknown) theme in favor of queries regarding our 1970's music predilections. Here, see for yourself:

1. What is your favorite band from the seventies (any band that recorded in that decade)?
Hmmm, I was fond of a whole bunch of them. Which genre?

Ok, easy answer - The Doors, Moody Blues, Jefferson Airship, The Grateful Dead are all favorites in their own niches...
2. What is your favorite song that band released in the seventies?
"Roadhouse Blues (1970)" and Riders On The Storm (1970)" come to mind.

3. Where would we find you in the seventies - a disco, a punk concert, or neither?
Neither. I could be found at a little dive a couple of blocks from the Burlington, Vermont waterfront named "The Chicken Bone" owned by a former college roommate. Disco was pervasive in most of the clubs, but at "The Bone" it was an admixture of blues, punk and other rock that could be heard on Friday and Saturday nights.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Dustoff Requested... I think

After more than two decades of fighting the Communists, the South Vietnamese army collapsed quickly in early 1975, setting in motion chaotic evacuations like this one from a rooftop in Saigon.I am sitting outside in a nameless* suburb of Baton Rouge just after midnight on New Year's Eve. Frankly, over the past six hours since the sun set I have been subjected to more ordinance than I have experienced since the Fall of Saigon. The air reeks of cordite; the smoke is as thick as the early morning fog along the Mississippi River this time of year. The denizens have fired off everything from M-80's, bottle rockets to some of the biggest mortar rounds one can purchase without a Federal ATF license. Literally, I haven't heard and felt this many shots since Viet Nam. I've dropped to the deck at least three times I can remember to hunker down through incoming. Scary folks ... these middle class dudes are armed to the teeth and aren't afraid to let you know it, while their richer counterparts, white and black, hide inside their gated communities, hoping the next off-color visitor to their door won't rob them blind or worse.

This isn't Maine anymore, Dorothy...

I am sated on hamburgers, hot dogs, smoked beef sausage, baked beans and cheese grits. The weather warns of a hard freeze tomorrow (Tuesday) night, although it's a balmy 54 degrees F. right now.

It's hard to comprehend that my friends in the North Country are shoveling out from under a 10" snowfall with another half a foot forecast for tomorrow night.

We sure picked a good winter to be stranded in the South.

I hope you all have a wonderful 2008. The year just past has been a rough one for us on many levels, so I'm hoping things change in the near future.

Love to you all.


(* "nameless" to protect the guilty -- this subdivision is full of Baton Rouge and other parish's cops, firefighters, paramedics and active duty military troops and their families)