According to the official Punxsatawney Phil Web site, the groundhog did see his shadow this morning. Traditionally, this means we'll have six more weeks of winter. More often than not, getting only six more weeks seems like a mighty attractive proposition to me. Freakin' woodchuck.
Canadians have their own official ground-dwelling, sun-spotting rodent, but I forget his name. I take it that the sun shone brightly there as well. Yahoo.
Shallow End of the Memepool
A bunch of bloggers I know have been "tagged" by other bloggers they know to answer questionnaires about movies and CDs and such. These questionnaires remind me of the ones going around the Internet in which you're asked what type of toothpaste you use (Tom's of Maine, naturellement, and fennel flavor when I can find it) and whether you prefer bacon bits or croutons on your salad (both, silly!). After you're done filling out these questions, which don't really reveal all that much about you, you're to send the same questionnaire to everyone else you know. I usually humor the person who sends one of these to me by filling it out and sending it back to just that person. I don't know whether I've promoted deeper understanding through my preference for Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap and the color purple, but there you are.
Maybe in my mythical spare time, I'll come up with a questionnaire that actually does reveal interesting things about my friends, and which people will really want to answer.
And the good times sure did roll
Yes, we're back from New Orleans, and that had to have been the shortest vacation in history. No matter that temperatures were in the low 50s F (roughly 11-12 degrees C) and that it was cloudy the whole time. We had such a blast that it may take me a few day's worth of postings to tell you how great it was to be there. Thanks to Pirate, Drainy, and Sharon for the nice bon-voyage emails.
Greg and I arrived there last Thursday afternoon, dropped off our things at the bed and breakfast, and headed into the French Quarter almost immediately. Our ultimate objective was the Cafe du Monde, but I wanted to give Greg a quick tour of Royal Street and Jackson Square, plus the locations of a few authors' houses that he wanted to visit.
Of course, no first visit to New Orleans is complete without at least one quick pass through Bourbon Street, but that area bears little if any resemblance to its Jazz-Age past. I've been there (this was my fourth visit) and know that it's basically just a frat party with beads, but Greg needed to see it once. Once was certainly enough. Yes, people of both genders do flash the balconies for beads, and yes, the NOPD is there watching and ready to pounce... but if you go there, you yourself will be so busy watching the sidewalk to avoid the puke puddles and trash that you won't see much of a show anyway. Don't even bother. It looks much more interesting (and less smelly) on reruns of "Cops."
But ahhh, the Cafe du Monde. Fresh, hot beignets buried under confectioners' sugar and cafe au lait! Going back there is a real homecoming. Not only are the coffee and beignets as heavenly as I remembered, but the people-watching is fabulous. We were seated next to a great round table of nuns in habits, and an old man with a soprano saxophone ran through his repertoire as we all sipped our coffees, with our sugary white fingers gripping the cups.
The band Love Jones (fabulous lounge band; their song "Paid for Loving" is on the "Swingers" soundtrack) does a song called "Bacchus Girl," about glimpsing a girl at a Mardi Gras parade. "Beignets and au lait, Cafe du Monde..."
Greg, being a musician, was wildly eager to check out the local music scene and find out whether any local bands played acid jazz, or anything else he likes. (He's a picky one.) During his research on the Net before we left, he discovered some wonderfully funky-sounding streams from a band called Have Soul Will Travel. They play all over the city, but they were appearing at a little hole-in-the-wall club called the Funky Butt. (No, sadly, the Funky Butt didn't have T-shirts for sale at the club, but you can order them through the Web site.)
We had a wonderful time at the Funky Butt! The band was smokin', and had a couple of musicians from other bands sitting in. One was the keyboard player for the funk band Galactic, and the other was a killer trombonist named Big Sam. Big Sam could make that trombone sob, scream, chuckle, and tell jokes (almost). He even used the slide to tease the two tables of college girls in front of us. We bought the Have Soul Will Travel CD from the drummer and took it home. It's still in my car's CD player.
More later. I haven't even scratched the surface yet, and I need to tell you all about the French Quarter Death March, the Barkus Parade, the Quarter Stitch, and the rained-out wine-drinkers' parade.