Season’s Musings…

Several people whose opinions I regard have commented lately that my monthly columns in this magazine have taken on a darker tone than usual.

An easy way to dismiss that notion would be to point out that the times we live in have a darker tone than usual, and that, as a journalist, I am simply reflecting and reporting on the environment and culture to which l am exposed.

Nevertheless, for this issue of the magazine, imbued with the spirit of the holidays, I thought I would make a concerted effort to embrace the spirit of the season and make an effort to present the goodness of mankind and the triumph of the human condition.

You know: Joy to the World and all that .…

This is not an easy task for someone who has made his living in the local media for more than 30 years as a professional curmudgeon. I did it at the Times-Picayune, I did it at Gambit Weekly, I did it for Fox 8 News, and now I do it here.

I bitch.

It’s good work if you can get it. And to my credit, only one of those media outlets fired me. So I must be pretty good at it.

Or, in this era of content over quality, I am at least a prolific complainer.

Thus, inspired by the great campaign slogan by perennial New Orleans mayoral candidate, Manny Chevrolet – “A Troubled Man for Troubled Times” – I present to you my literary dose of seasonal good cheer:

Don’t you just go completely bonkers when you’re pumping gas at a corner convenience store and, when it gets to the last fifty cents on the meter, the gas flow suddenly automatically diminishes to a mere trickle and you stand there shaking your knee impatiently waiting for those last drops to get in your tank so you can get on with the horror of a brand new day?

I think it’s a scam. A way for local gas merchants to recoup twenty or thirty cents from every customer, because the basic human tendency is to say to oneself, “Oh, to hell with it!” and just place the nozzle back in its holder and head off without wasting any more time.

I do that all the time. It’s not until I am out on the street that I realize I wasn’t really in a hurry in the first place.

Still, there ought to be a law.

On a completely different note: Where is Bobby Jindal?

I was just wondering.

Several years ago I was Christmas shopping in Metairie and the driver of the car in front of me tossed a bag of trash from Kentucky Fried Chicken out her window into the middle of Clearview Parkway. That kind of thing really jingles my bells.

So I sped up alongside her and rolled down my window to – shall we say – emphatically express my objection to her cavalier breach of holiday comportment.

She was still nibbling on her last thigh as she drove and, with a haunting, oily, vengeful smirk, (Think: Heath Ledger in the Batman movie), she whipped the half-chewed remains of her solitary, high-speed suburban Christmas Eve dinner out her window and in mine.

Apparently it had been quite a formidable chicken in its time – the cock of the walk! – because that hefty-battered grease bomb hit the side of my neck and exploded inside my car like shrapnel from a roadside IED in Mesopotamia.

My car smelled like fried chicken for forty days and forty nights.

She couldn’t have wrist-flicked such a random projectile with such stunning, malevolent precision if she tried it a thousand more times.

I don’t publicly accost litterers as much as I used to.

And here’s two words to brighten your day: Puerto Rico. Did you know that most people there think they are Americans? That’s crazy.

Even crazier: Did you know that Santa Claus is white? I heard it on Fox News.

I have not made up a word of this story. And speaking of the War on Christmas, please remember in these tranquil, holy and reflective times: Always keep the X in Xmas.

It’s important.

And may the joys and blessings of the holiday season keep you safe and warm.



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