Peace on Earth: “Hush the noise, ye men of strife.” Tuesday, Nov 30 2010 

Hollywood made a 1939 movie by the title of Peace of Earth.

Just about seven years ago to the date, I spent the night at a hotel in downtown Alexandria, Louisiana.  Before bed, I walked up the levee across the street from the hotel to take a look at the fabled Red River in the moonlight.  I wish I had a camera to preserve the image I beheld: Across the River on the Pineville shore, a red and green light display spelling out “Peace on Earth” stood atop the levee.  Midway across the River, the reflection of “Peace on Earth” shimmered upside down on the moon-dappled water.  That was an amazing sight, one I attempted to preserve in lyrics, ending the poem’s title with a question mark since the message was turned upside down in the reflection!    This isn’t a new post–I post it every year about this time, and I’m pretty sure I will continue posting it for years to come.

Peace on Earth?

November 2003

(Composed along the levee at Alexandria)

“Oh, hush the noise, ye men of strife / And hear the angels sing!

–Edmund H. Sears

“Peace on Earth”


upside down

in lights’ reflection

on the dark, moon-dappled River.

Lord, we long to hear

the angels sing.

Save us




men of  strife.


set peace aright

set our hearts aright


tune our ears

to hear

the angels’ sing.


Anybody got a hankie for the Dallas Cowbabies? Friday, Nov 26 2010 

The turning point in the game: Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins takes the ball away from the Cowboys Roy Williams to alter the outcome of the game.

“Cowbabies” referring to the reaction of some of the fans and writers, not the players.

I just got through reading some of the pieces and posts on the Cowboys website lamenting their loss–understandably greater than a disappointing loss, more like a cruel or gut-wrenching loss, given the irony that the very play that would have sealed their fate to win the game turned against them.

I understand all of their regret and bitter disappointment, and I give the Cowboys team enormous credit for the game they played, the way they handled the adversity of the first half.  But what I find hard to take is some of the commentary that was published after the game–One piece on the Cowboys website characterized the Saints as “escaping” with a victory, the insinuation that New Orleans somehow didn’t deserve to win, or that they “stole” a victory the Cowboys earned.

C’mon, Cowbabies.  Give us a break.  As longsuffering Saints fans for years, we saw our teams “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory” gazoodles of times.  In fact, we know a lot more about losing games like the one last night than the Cowboys know, for sure.

But the honest fact in all those years when our Saints blew fourth quarter leads or gave up back-breaking plays just before getting on the plane to head back home with their heads both bowed and bloodied in defeat was that we just weren’t good.  As a matter of fact, in those days, our boys were a pretty bad team.  That’s why better teams came back on us, that’s why we blew leads, that’s why we couldn’t  finish games strong enough to win, that’s why we didn’t deserve to win.

Last night, the team that blew the lead because they didn’t finish was the Cowboys.  That’s no disrespect to their effort, nor to their character or the talent level on their team: But in the end, New Orleans made  key plays at the crunch time and, guess what?  The Saints are 8-3, the Cowboys are 3-8, and the standings have nothing more or less to same about the details of the game than those records.

So please, to the press corp of the Dallas Cowboys, give us a break.  Better yet, acknowledge that our guys didn’t “sneak away” from Dallas with a win hidden in the folds of their trench coats–They got on a jet amid the camaraderie and good-feelings of teammates who had come to Dallas and done what had to be done to leave 8-3 as opposed to 7-4.

Four “daze” at the Corporate Kingdom: “Waste Please” at Disney World Monday, Nov 22 2010 

I did meet Mickey and Minnie. They showed up at the conference reception Friday night and asked if they could take this picture with me. Of course, I obliged, even though I knew for a fact they were people dressed up in Mickey and Minnie costumes.   I even loaned them my iPhone to take the picture so I could email it to them.
But what are the overall impressions of four days surrounded by the surreal opulence of excess?  (or maybe excess-on-steroids?)  Singularly, I was more struck by the corporate kingdom than the Magic Kingdom.
In fact, I left the place with some ambivalence that I found well-considered in a placard on the side of a waste-disposal unit (a garbage can in most places, but nothing at Disney is that mundane).  The placard read, “Waste Please.”  As an English teacher, I yearned for a magic marker to draw in a comma after “Waste.”  But the missing comma notwithstanding, one can read that placard at Corporate Kingdom two ways:
1.  “Waste Please” by disposing your trash and litter here so as not to despoil these impeccable, glittering grounds.  Don’t you realize that one of the reasons everything costs so much at Corporate Kingdom is that we go to exorbitant extremes to keep the appearance of this place so squeaky clean?   After all, what matters more than appearance?
2. “Waste Please” by releasing your most excessive consumer impulses to profligate abandon: After all, that’s what the Corporate Kingdom is all about!  The more you waste here of your precious resources, the more the Corporate Kingdom prospers, so please, please, please:  Waste with profligacy all you that you can!  Yay, o man, waste with utter abandon, by squandering all your cash on the glittering fool’s gold peddled in corporate paradise.  And when you’ve wasted all your commodities, you’ll have to replenish them by paying Disney’s exorbidant cost because other vendors are not allowed in the Corporate Kingdom!

My Return to Disney World: Almost 40 Years Later Tuesday, Nov 16 2010 

Tomorrow this time, I’ll be holed up at the Disney Contemporary Resort Hotel in Florida on the eve of the National Writing Project’s annual meeting that begins Thursday morning.   I’ve attended this annual conference the week before Thanksgiving for over 10 years in a row, and the venue from year to year is always part of the mystique of conference-going.

Orlando really doesn’t excite me as a venue.  I visited Disney World almost 4o years ago as a college student.  A college mate and I drove all night to Orlando at the end of the summer to bring home another buddy who had spent the summer working at Disney World.  I remember vaguely walking around the theme park, seeing Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters, visiting some shops that featured cuisine from other parts of the world, but not much more.  But theme parks didn’t excite me then any more than they do now.

The place was fairly new in those days and not nearly as huge as the complex has grown since.  Maybe I’ll be more impressed all these years and all of Disney’s development later, but then again, it’s not that the place wasn’t impressive in those days–Disney World, like

I saw Mickey at Disney World back in ’72 or ’73 when I last visited.

any other theme park,  just wasn’t my thing.  Disney World has changed, I suppose, but I don’t think I’ve changed.

Tomorrow evening, I’ll have a better impression.  The conference schedule will be busy though, involving enough work that time for play will be marginal, but hopefully I’ll be able to change into my jogging clothes at the end of each day and jog about the surroundings to explore.  If I experience anything memorable or notable, I’ll be sure to shoot it with the iPhone and blog it.


The Joys of Grandparenting: Honey and Payton at the Circle Park Saturday, Nov 13 2010 


Payton had fun at the park, but she wanted to get no closer to the scary lion-wiht-the-big-mouth in the background than she appears in this picture.


Honey kept Payton Friday.  Since the mid-November weather was spectacular, they visited the Circle Park playground where Honey preserved some of the entertaining moments in video.




They rode the slide together the first time.

You notice after the first time, big girl wanted to go down by herself.  Here’s the sequel.

Bobby Jindal: Lack of Leadership in Crisis Wednesday, Nov 10 2010 

Yes, I freely admit, I propose a different title to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s hot-off-the-press new book.  Jindal calls the book Leadership and Crisis, but I believe the title I suggest is more a propos.

Jindal fancies himself a leader in times of crisis--We know the hypocrite better!

Frankly, for Jindal to assert that he exerted leadership in any time of crisis amounts to  hypocrisy.  The Governor has presided over two crises that I can think of: (1) the BP oil spill, and (2) the ongoing budget crisis.

For the BP oil spill, I”d grant him a C+: He said the right things when the cameras were moving and he showed some pathos, but truthfully, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser was much more effective in the national limelight as a Louisiana cheerleader and spokesperson.  Bobby could, indeed, take lessons from Nungesser in the art of political aplomb.

For the budget crisis, Jindal’s leadership deserves an F-.  For some reason, he’s taken on higher education as an adversary–shocking and disappointing to many of us who saw him formerly as on “our side.”  If his reasons for attacking the condition of higher education were legitimate, I could respect him, but his motives seem political, even posturing.

I hope the student protest scheduled for tomorrow on the Capitol steps achieves proper recognition and embarrasses the Governor.  It’s time somebody calls this populist political animal-turned- Governor’s hand.

All’s Well in Tiger Stadium When My Kids are There–and LSU Wins! Saturday, Nov 6 2010 

LSU hung in there to kick Bama in the Butt

I enjoyed LSU’s upset of Alabama from the comfort of my living room this afternoon, but I was gratified from time to time as the network showed the high-up views of Tiger Stadium that all of my kids were among that throng–Zach, Autumn, and Ann.

At my middle-age-plus, the living room seating is just right.  But for the younger ones, what can surpass the energy and spirit of Tiger Stadium?  I’m happy for the kids.

And I’m happy for LSU and all of us.

Life is good when we win.

Les demoiselles de Halloween: More joys of grandparenting Tuesday, Nov 2 2010 

Payton and her buddy Allie made Honey’s and Papa’s house headquarters for Trick or Treat Sunday night.   I’m not sure exactly what characters their costumes represent, but they’re definitely winged, so I’ll call them demoiselles (French for dragon fly).

Payton is on the left, Allie on the right, ready for a girls’ night out on Halloween.

Irresistable little angels.

Payton (on the left) already knows how to "ham" the camera.

Ready for a good time?

Saints Down Steelers: Drew Got It, Big Ben Didn’t Monday, Nov 1 2010 

Thanks to the Saints defense, Halloween was more trick than treat for Steelers' QB Ben Roethlesberger

Sunday night football was awesome–our beloved Saints beat the Steelers 20-10.

Our favorite Saints cheerleader, former QB and now radio-announcer Bobby Hebert, put it best on the WWL radio talk show this evening: The Saints beat the Steelers at the Steelers’ own game”:  Hard-nosed defense, punch-mouth slugging, and see who’s best.

If I had to boil the game to its lowest common denominator, I’d look at the quarterbacks.  The first half was a draw as each QB measured the opposition to make successful plays.  The outcome was undetermined at the break.

In the second half, the difference between Drew and Big Ben showed up: Drew figured it out, Big Ben never did.  Drew completed an ungodly 20 out of 22 attempts in the half as he shredded the Steelers’ masterful defense, often using the short passing game to make up for the run that the Steelers so successfully defended.  Drew’s play resulted in points on the board.  Meanwhile, Poor Ben floundered to the end as the Saints defense poured it on.

What else can we say?  Geaux, Saints!  The “Who Dat” attack is back!