Sunday, December 31
1. Kick the Marlon Brando habit.
Most of us have them--and I spend way too much time on abstract stuff, and not enough time on community-building stuff, so here are mine...
Deadspin delivers two late contenders for sports story of the year:
Johnny Fontaine Will Be Starting For Palermo Soon: Italian soccer coach gets goat's head for Christmas.
Friday, December 29
Saddam is dead.
How 'bout them apples? (And what a testament to the puzzle a couple of blog entries can unlock!)
Remember way back on March 3 when we first told Jackson on a JFP blog posting that Melton seemed to be bound for the Bahamas right in the midst of all his drama about catching Vidal "The Most Dangerous Man in Jackson" Sullivan? (A roommate of a staffer was on a plane with him to Dallas and called us from the airport there; then a person with the city told us he was headed to the Bahamas, thus setting off this whole travel-gate narrative.) The Clarion-Ledger did a good job of follow-up that weekend and found him in a hotel in the Bahamas with his two bodyguards. Then he told a Ledger reporter he would "cream" her if she did the story. Well, now the story is back on the front page of the Ledger because Melton threatened to expose City Council travel expenses after they challenged his unauthorized temporary employees this month. And guess what? His travel expenses are the most expensive—and he seems to have never reimbursed the city for his bodyguards' ritzy stay in the Bahamas.
Thursday, December 28
I've been saving up for this one. One, Vanity Fair owes us an apology OR a rebuttal. Two, Christopher Hitchens's picture looks like a mustached woman waiting for her bread to rise. Now we know that there is nothing more insulting to a man than to allude him as a woman. That is why I feel comfortable calling this columnist a pussy. Here's why.
Bob Woodward did an interview with President Ford in 2004 that was embargoed by the former president until after his death. It is published today in the Washington Post, along with recordings:
Wednesday, December 27
Jackson and the metro area have a new set of eyes in the sky, thanks to local helicopter pilot Coyt Bailey, SafeCity Watch, philanthropist Jim Barksdale and other private donors, who together donated about $700,000 for the purchase of a surveillance helicopter that will cruise the skies over Jackson and Ridgeland.
Former Provine High/Hinds CC/Mississippi State star Fred Smoot has run into trouble again. Smoot will miss the Minnesota Vikings' final regular-season game after breaking his jaw in an automobile accident early last Saturday in Jackson. Smoot can't talk, but he's getting the word out through text messages.
The few of us still in the practice of keeping straight the interchangeable Meineke Car Cares and Micron PCs of the ever-inflating college football bowl season—postseason rewards for the game's "elite" clique of (mostly) winners for the second straight year is bestowed upon more "major" programs (64) than not (55)—have at least been able to rely on a game's timing as a rough gauge of its prestige, with the important games coming after Christmas. These days, the Bowl Championship Series has pushed back the cutoff for the supposed creme de la creme up to a week into the new year to avoid overlap, culminating in its self-proclaimed National Championship Game.
College basketball, Mississippi Valley State at LSU (5:30 p.m., Baton Rouge, La.): The Delta Devils take a beating for a good cause in the Hispanic College Fund Classic.
"Inside peanut butter, outside jelly, seven days of the week, seven different Chevys." If you've heard these lyrics, you know Cadillac Don and J Money, the men behind the infectious hit "Peanut Butter and Jelly."
In a contentious Dec. 21 meeting, City Council voted 4-0 to an amendment refusing to make payments for temp agencies supplying workers to the city of Jackson. On Tuesday, the council voted down a claims docket based on concerns over temporary workers, and some members demanded more details on those workers before they would approve the docket.
Gov. Haley Barbour has said that the Mississippi Adequate Education Program formula will likely receive full funding from the Legislature now that the state superintendent of education has released a revised calculation dropping $34 million off the August estimate.
Grant Writers Suing City
Former city employees LaSeine Hunter Hilliard, Meisha Jones and Stanley Murray are bringing a civil action against the city of Jackson for termination against Civil Service rules and state law.
Finding displaced and abandoned dogs after Katrina wasn't difficult. Offers of food can usually persuade dogs to trust rescuers. Cats presented a different challenge. Frightened cats hide from strangers and noise, sometimes in places so inaccessible that no amount of searching can be successful. Feral cats compound the problem, because they tend to be aggressive even after capture.
People living in Jackson may always remember 2006 as the year when Melton melted down. It's not all we'll remember about this year, of course. Renovation began on the King Edward, along with a host of downtown developments including the Capitol Green project and Farish Street. The city passed a badly needed bond for Jackson Public Schools. Heck, even the Democrats finally screwed their caps on straight and won an election.
[Verbatim statement from Jim Hood] "State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, Farm Bureau, USAA, and Nationwide have caused many people on our Coast to wait a year and three months for a decision on the validity of the water exclusionary clause. Now, thanks to Judge Senter, a second federal judge has agreed with me and told the insurance companies that they were wrong in trying to delay the case in federal court. I have been in discussions with several of these companies with the aim of trying to resolve these issues without the expense and time of litigation and I am hopeful that other companies will come forward and do what is right toward the policy holders. I urge every policyholder and insurance agent in Mississippi to call or email their insurance company and tell them to work with us on a settlement to help our fellow Mississippians on our Coast!
Jan. 17: Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Stansbury kicks Walter Sharpe off the team.
As we survey the top local news from this past year, we have to take a deep breath and feel a measure of pride. Time after time over the last year, the Jackson Free Press broke crucial stories, beating the corporate media with only a fraction of the resources. Those times when we weren't first with a story, we provided the context and historical depth other media outlets lack.
One of the most exciting things about a new year, other than a chance to wipe the slate clean of all those indiscretions from the previous year, is all the chances you get to party (and maybe start an all-new list of indiscretions). The wonderful thing is, you don't have to go to New York to see that ball drop in Times Square for a good party. If you want to go somewhere that requires you to wear sequins, there's a place to go in the capital city. Or, if you'd prefer to go some place where sparkles aren't required, that's here, too. It's all here, and there's no need for you to sit at home watching Dick Clark. Unless ... that's what you've been looking forward to all year.
[verbatim statement] Dec. 28, 2006—Eight years of effort finally paid off. State Senator John Horhn announced today that the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) has allocated $1.9 Million and begun construction to reestablish a rest area on US Highway 49 just south of the Pocahontas Indian Mound. Benefiting both nearby residents and visitors, the facility will also boast an interpretive center, a small museum, picnic facilities and a jogging trail. Senator Horhn was aided in his efforts by residents of the Pocahontas Community Homeowners' Association.
As 2006 comes to a close, it's become achingly clear that Jacksonians are going to need to do something about the way we're governed. The indicators are clear and, oddly enough, they closely mirror what's going on in this country on a national level.
I've decided to send this yankeefied newsletter as proof that we are not an agoraphobic family—we just don't like spending time with folks who don't really want to spend time with us, either. My new husband has informed me that writing everyone a letter outlining everything we've done this year, hobbies we have taken a liking to and other personal information that you probably don't want to know, will suffice in place of any actual familial communication regarding 2006. This socially accepted tradition demonstrates exactly why I don't care for Yankees, and I would like to immediately apologize for offending any aunt with two first names. Yes ma'am; I was raised better than this.
Rev. Cletus: "This is your Reverend Cletus Car Sales radio broadcast! Remember: If you need to get from point A to B, see one of my deacons at the car lot to receive your blessing—a nice, used car. And for those looking for a ride to Bible study, praise team/choir practice or Sunday worship service, the Double Dutch Church Bus will take you there!
Unrequested, Unnecessary and Inappropriate
"I love the other (guitar) stores here," Harkins says. "It's just they're doing something slightly different."
The statement from his family did not list a cause of death. He was 93.
Read it and rejoice, Saints fans (from The Associated Press):
NEW ORLEANS — This is new territory for the New Orleans Saints and their rookie coach: With a game to go, they have not only clinched the division, they have guaranteed themselves a bye in the playoffs.
Tuesday, December 26
The Associated Press is reporting on staggering waste and loss of funds due to no-bid and fraudulent contracts, especially to Republican supporters, after Katrina, as well as how few minority-owned firms got contracts due to Bush's initial waiver of contracting requirements:
The New York Times has an interesting piece about the difficulties well-to-do African Americans can have getting quality child care in the U.S.:
The holiday season can be chaotic. In some cases, it turns into a popularity contest: Who gets the most thoughtful gift? Who gets the stock gifts? Who only gets well wishes? Whose party do you attend, and how long do you stay at this one before you head to the one you've been anticipating since this time last year?
0" align=left /> New York Daily News columnist Gary Myers has joined the "Fire Giants coach Tom Coughlin" camp. Myers suggests Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis as the best possible replacement. Myers says that the Giants' problems don't stop at coach. He offers an intriguing solution to QB Eli Manning's problems:
Monday, December 25
The New Orleans Saints chopped down the New York Giants 30-7 Sunday. Meanwhile, Giants coach Tom Coughlin should begin updating his resume. Giants QB Eli Manning deserves a lump of coal in his stocking, too. The Giants didn't begin a single offensive play in Saints' territory.
Todd, Donna, Stephen, Renee, Jakob, Darren, Brian, Natalie, Adam, JoAnne, Herman, Ronni, Casey, Pat, Korey and the other JFP contributors wish you all a safe and thoughtful Christmas and Kwanzaa week. May you all experience peace and prosperity in the new year.
CNN is reporting the following:
"ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- James Brown, the dynamic, pompadoured "Godfather of Soul," whose rasping vocals and revolutionary rhythms made him a founder of rap, funk and disco as well, died early Monday, his agent said. He was 73. Brown was hospitalized with pneumonia at Emory Crawford Long Hospital on Sunday and died around 1:45 a.m. Monday, said his agent, Frank Copsidas of Intrigue Music. Longtime friend Charles Bobbit was by his side, he said.
Saturday, December 23
In their hometown of Stockholm, Sweden, Peter, Bjorn and John agreed on some rules before they started recording Writer's Block — 1: Keep it simple. 2: Whatever you do, don't lose the spontaneity of the first take. 3: Never stay in the studio for more than four hours at a time. 4: Change instruments with each other as often as possible. 5: Follow your heart.
Friday, December 22
There's obviously something about playing in Jackson that agrees with Charles Rhodes. The former Lanier star scored 25 points to lead Mississippi State past New Orleans 89-63 at the Mississippi Coliseum. And the State women won, making it a sweep for the Maroons.
Tonight, the City is hosting a dinner for Jackson's homeless. It's a gift to that population the city insulted and injured the rest of this year. It reminds me of the gifts the Wise Men took to Bethlehem. There they found a homeless, hungry, freezing child. Did they give the child and his family a home, food and clothes? No; they gave gold, frankincense and myrrh. All symbolic gifts--which made the Wise Men very proud, but did very little for the neediest in that manger that night.
Okay, I haven't done a blatantly self-promotional post in a while--and I've just finished my Greatest Hits feature for 2006, highlighting ten pieces of especially popular (and, presumably, least objectionable) civil liberties content.
Visiting Kansas for Christmas, and when I first went to take a shower, I saw my mom had the same shower gel I had taken to Africa with me. Mine was a sample that came with hers. Tahitian pomegranate renewal, which I used again yesterday. The smell of it brought so much back -- the cold shower in Yokadouma, Cameroon, early in the morning. I hadn't showered in three or four days before that, and walking back in the (still a little cold) morning, smelling like Tahitian pomegrante my head felt so clear.
Thursday, December 21
Amid growing concerns about who Mayor Frank Melton is hiring and whether or not they have been drug-tested, City Council voted 4-0 Thursday to an amendment booting temp agencies supplying workers to the city of Jackson. On Tuesday, the council voted down a (financial) claims docket based on concerns over temporary workers hired by the mayor, and some members demanded more details on those workers before they would approve the docket. Melton did not attend the meeting.
Fonda and Steinem explain the concept, and the need, for NON argument talk radio. Love them.
I only have time to say I LOVE it. Finally some women on Colbert. Now let's get more on The Daily Show.
Wednesday, December 20
Sign this petition before January 1, 2007, and help in the fight against another form of racial discrimination - specific hairstyle restrictions. Last time I checked, we are in the 21st century.
WAPT is reporting: Jackson Public Schools has fired the principal of Chastain Middle School on Wednesday morning, citing missing money and poor performance. But Principal Michael Ellis said he was dismissed for another reason. Ellis filed a complaint that Superintendent Earl Watkins made unwanted sexual advances to in the form of phone calls and text messages.
In the age of ESPN, the Saturday night Game of the Week and the BCS, if you still want to catch a glimpse of college football's regional roots amidst the modern obsession with deciphering "the best [insert position] in the country," the Heisman Trophy presentation from New York's Times Square on Dec. 9 was an unlikely opportunity.
College basketball: Mississippi State fans get to see their heroes when the men's and women's basketball teams play a doubleheader at Mississippi Coliseum. The women play at 4:30 p.m.; the men follow at 7 p.m. (CSS/105.9 FM).
For Jonezetta, 2006 has been a busy year. In January, after signing with Seattle-based label Tooth & Nail Records, the band took one month to write and record their first LP, "Popularity," which was released in October. Then, in March, the band set out on the first of three nationwide tours. Add to that their first music video for the single "Get Ready (Hot Machete)," and media attention from well-established music outlets like Spin, and it's obvious that the year has marked something of a breakthrough for the band.
If you loop around downtown trying to get a gander at the King Edward, you need to stop your car and visit Ink Spot, which opened six months ago, a block from the hotel. Ink Spot is a combined tattoo parlor and art gallery that's unlike any other business in Jackson.
Every time I pick up my mail these days, I get a half-dozen pleas from non-profits and charities to send money. Unfortunately for them, it was last year that I had the cushy big-corporation management job. This year is going to be different.
It's only days until Christmas and—this is the point where a lot of people really screw up. If—like me—you haven't quite finished your shopping (or started), you might be tempted to run to a mall and grab anything that looks like a gift. Don't. This is how people end up with useless appliances and way too many golf accessories they'll never use.
Ginger Smith is founder and administrator of The Renaissance Academy, a division of the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center, which works to educate troubled students in Hinds County. Since 2004, Smith has directed her passion to kids at the academy, though she has been in the business of teaching hard cases for 36 years. Her initiative and drive got her on USA Today's All-USA Teacher Team in 2001. The Monticello native was working as a coordinator of the education component at Henley-Young when she devised The Renaissance Academy. Components of the program entail daylong alternative teaching classes, work-force development, an after-school program and family-support classes, which take the teaching to parents desperate to turn their kids around.
LeFleur Lakes developer John McGowan insists that his project to flood the Pearl River basin between Jackson and Flowood to create lakefront property for downtown Jackson is dead in the water if the city continues to support the construction of the Airport Parkway Project.
The Rev. Jerry Falwell pulled no punches when he told an election training group of the Christian Coalition in 2004 who controls the Republican Party.
Even though the Bible speaks extensively about looking after the world the creator made, Sunday morning sermons rarely address issues such as shrinking ice caps, vanishing glaciers or how much mercury the nearby coal plant billows up into the sky. In fact, many pastors have moved away from the idea of protecting the world that God made, even going so far as to vehemently oppose any calls to preserve it.
Politics and religion: two subjects that should never be introduced in polite conversation. When I moved to Mississippi, the admonition became a hard and fast rule for me. Mississippi politics contains a lot of bizarrely coded language that, as an outsider, I can't penetrate. And religion? Well, let's just say that I got invitations to about a half-dozen Baptist and Methodist churches within a couple of weeks, none of which I accepted. There are some who will likely never forgive me for that Yankee faux pas. Being in the buckle of the Bible belt came to mean only one thing to me—evangelical, fundamentalist Christianity.
I had a religious experience in Hal & Mal's the other night.
As some of you know, I've been a social worker in this great state for about eight years now. Just don't tell that to the men I date. They'd have a hard time figuring out how I've been working a real job with a master's since I was 15. (Hey, every woman has her secrets.)
Mr. Announcement: "This episode of 'All God's Churn Got Shoes,' features the directorial debut of 'Little Baby Sista X' and Kunta 'Rahsheed X,' Toby's sister.
This will probably be one of the most personal columns I've ever written. Hip-hop is at a crossroads.
One immediately feels welcome when entering Sabri Agachan's home. Take your shoes off and put on the slippers offered; accept tea in delicate glasses and an offer of food. The house is spotless, almost Spartan; hospitality and cleanliness are blessings to the Muslim home, Agachan will tell you.
According to WAPT, Marshand Crisler has asked JPD Chief Anderson "to present a crime-fighting plan to the public," which she has declined to do. Is this a case of no plan, or has she been around Frank too long? I'm of the opinion that it's time to kick her out and find someone with actual job skills.
Our good friend Jill Conner Browne just sent this update out to her list about how efforts of many of you and others are making a big difference in the lives of kids on the Coast this Christmas. She sent out a plea for toys that we posted a couple weeks ago. Bless everyone in Jackson and beyond who helped out.
Tuesday, December 19
This just came across the transom [verbatim release]:
JACKSON, MS, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Silverado Green Fuel Inc. announced plans today to build the first low-rank coal-water fuel ("Green Fuel") facility in the United States. The $26 M project, to be located on 14-acres outside of Ackerman in the Red Hills EcoPlex in Choctaw County, Mississippi, is designed to utilize the state's vast supply of low-rank coal reserves by converting them into Green Fuel, a new form of coal-based, environmentally friendly, low-cost, alternative fuel. The facility will create local jobs, inject a sizable capital investment in the local economy, and highlight Mississippi as a national leader in alternative energy and clean coal technologies.
The Clarion-Ledger printed my most recent rebuttal to columnist Leonard Pitts column on the "N" word yesterday. I know we've THOROUGHLY discussed it here but some C-L readers chimed in with their thoughts so I thought you might want to read a few and give your feedback.. ENJOY..or not, depends on how you feel :-)
*Update: Catch Part II of Kamikaze's visit with Kim Wade (1180 AM) today, Dec. 19, at 5 p.m.
Going toe-to-toe with Kim Wade on his daily talk show on WJNT. We're going to dig deeper into the David Banner controversy, the Millsaps controversy, and the city of Jackson (government, crime, leaders etc.) So tune in AND call in.. Of course I expect to stir things up. Is conservative radio ready? LOL.
Mr. Steam Jeans and I are spending our first Christmas together with our "blended" family. The Monkey is nine; the Princess is ten, so we have about a decade of tradition to combine. Then there's the fact that he's Yankee, which is another story for another day. He says he's Californian, but I'm not splitting hairs on that one. He's a Yankee, and a Yankee does not know a southern Christmas.
Monday, December 18
I love this. From Gender 3.0 blogger Cameron Scott:
Look at the kind of crap that is helping beef up the "news headlines" over on Gannett's local "information center," now that the Ledger is, uh, moving beyond the idea of doing newspapers. Folks, this is a press release posted verbatim in the breaking news area—and note that it is not tagged as a press release or a "statement" or as quoted "verbatim," as we do when we put press releases (about important stuff, but I quibble) in the Noise section.
[Verbatim from Nancy Loome] There has been a good deal of political posturing surrounding the Mississippi Department of Education's announcement of the updated MAEP figures. Rest assured that the negative comments you hear are, indeed, political posturing. The final projected MAEP costs were approved this morning (Friday, December 15, 2006) by the State Board of Education. Those figures came in at approximately $33-million below the Department of Education's initial estimate (about a 1% difference in the education budget).
Sunday, December 17
The New Orleans Saints had it all in front of them on Sunday. All they had to do was beat a below-average Washington Redskins team at home in front of a Dome-ful of their fanatic fans and the Saints would clinch the NFC South title and a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Saints couldn't do it, losing 16-10. The Saints won the NFC South, anyway, when Pittsburgh beat Carolina 37-3. But now the Saints have work to do if they want to get a week off before their first postseason game. But how good can the Saints feel when rookie QB Jason Campbell, a Taylorsville native, outperformed Saints signal-caller Drew Brees? The only question being asked about Campbell now is, why didn't the Redskins start him sooner?
Here I am, a spit and polish away from 30, and I still can't figure out what the hell that means.
I remember that time when I was 5 or 6 years old, sitting in my Southern Baptist Sunday school class, as the teacher told us about the parting of the Red Sea. And I turned to the sweet old lady and said with a big smile: "It was magic!" No, Tommy, it was a miracle. Only the devil does magic.
But that's not all ...
The latest issue of The Magazine is chock full of Mississippians, starting with the cover story on Adalius Thomas (p. 48), the former Southern Miss star who's become a human Swiss Army knife for the Baltimore Ravens. Thomas plays eight positions for the Ravens defense. Now the NFL knows what USM fans knew (he was a two-time CUSA player of the year) before the Ravens drafted him in 2000.
Saturday, December 16
A few months ago I decided to make a list of the top 10 or so things the Jackson City Council could do to improve its weekly meetings. At the top of the list was that the meetings should be shortened from three hours to two so that citizens could actually attend meetings and still have time to address the Council during the public comment portion at the end.
Friday, December 15
The Clarion-Ledger is reporting that the Mississippi Supreme Court has upheld the order that city officials cannot refer to the Ridgeway Street duplex, allegedly demolished by Mayor Frank Melton and his entourage, as a "drughouse." The decision is a blow to the defense, which is trying to defend the mayor and his bodyguards' actions by claiming that the private home was a "drughouse" or a "crackhouse."
The NYTimes has two really interesting stories today.
In one, Diamonds are for Never , Ophrah/that new movie "Blood Diamonds" are convincing many women into giving up diamonds:
Thursday, December 14
Hip-hop is dead.
That's was Nas is saying on his new disc (hitting the streets on Tuesday, yall), and I can't say I disagree.
Tune in Friday (Dec. 15) at noon for the second beta version of Radio JFP on WLEZ, 103.7 FM. We have amazing guests this week—Rev. Ross Olivier of Galloway Methodist and bluesman Jesse Robinson! Host Todd Stauffer, and guest hosts Donna Ladd and Brian Johnson, will discuss the latest news—yes, Melton will come up—and provide a weekly wrap-up of the news and a look-ahead to interesting events and music for each weekend—as well as play samples of songs of artists performing over the weekend. Be sure to tune in every Friday!
The Clarion-Ledger is reporting the latest chapter in "As the City Spins":
Roller derby is experienceing a rebirth on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Mississippi Rollergirls are Mississippi's first flat-track derby league. Right now the league consists of one team, but its ultimate goal is a four-team league with an all-star traveling squad. It's not your grandma's roller derby. The Rollergirls are members of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association. They don't have to go too far to find a team to roll against. New Orleans, Mobile, Ala., and Pensacola, Fla. have leagues, too. How about an exhibition in Jackson?
Wednesday, December 13
Click below and pay no attention to the dark-haired yankee. Bless his heart; Jay Leno did NOT understand the greatness that was Marie Rudisill. Notice he calls her the character from "The Christmas Story." She is NOT the Bumpess Dogs you nimrod! She's Marie Rudisill, aunt to Truman Capote and rumored the distant cousin in "A Christmas MEMORY"; she and Truman both also have storied appearances in Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird."
"Your honor, we the people of Mississippi find the accused, Cedric Willis, guilty of murder."
In a way, Neil LaBute's "The Mercy Seat" resembles an R. Crumb comic strip. In the 1960s, Robert Crumb appropriated the comic strip, a medium whose "Golden Age" was marked by Superman and other noble superheroes, for his own pornographic and depraved purposes. Although the impulses behind Crumb's counter-culture comics were distasteful to some, they were also undeniably universal and offered more insight into human nature than the calisthenics of spandex-clad, celibate superheroes.
For many people, the land of Timbuktu is a mythological one. They've heard the city's name, but don't realize it's an actual city—an actual society. Timbuktu, less than 10 miles from the Niger River, was established in the 10th century and served as a major port in the country Mali in West Africa.
Jackson Public Schools alumni will be key players at Jackson State, Mississippi State and Southern Miss this season. (Ole Miss doesn't have a Jackson player on its roster, which might explain UM's problems in recent seasons. The Rebels scored a recruiting coup a few years back when they brought in the Provine Posse, but they were unable to build on that.)
The Blazers are off to a 7-3 start, led by senior guard Bobby Johnson (25.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game). He's one of seven Belhaven players with a double-figures scoring average. Next game: Thursday, Dec. 14 at Rust.
John Horton III is sitting in the cab of his bulldozer on a cool early December morning in Swift Water, Miss. As the Aqua Farms crew rebuilds a catfish pond, he rehearses alone on his harmonica for the upcoming weekend's performance. Only the harmonica and his name, in neat cursive just above the breast pocket of his dark-blue uniform, indicate that Horton is an accomplished blues musician.
There are certain holiday essentials. One such essential: eggnog. And you simply can't have eggnog without alcohol. Now, that's a holiday essential.
Holiday dinners with my family, particularly on my father's side, have always been interesting. For the past 15 years or so, our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners have consisted of the same meal, which my stepmother, Jan, and I prepare. Before that, when my Granny and Great Aunt Daise were cooking, we had different holiday traditions.
The holidays are frustrating for a geek. Why? Because we know exactly what we want. And no one else does. Why? Because they're not paying attention. Here, then, is a quick summary of what's hottest for the tech geek in your life and what you'll need to spend to keep 'em quiet. Oh, and do not forget to keep the receipt, because if you're not a geek yourself, you'll probably get something wrong. Happy shopping!
Many games over the years have been advertised as "Halo-killers." These so-called next-generation shooters proved to be only minor diversions in comparison to Microsoft's flagship game. Enter "Gears of War." This game got no hype before it was released—in fact, it was hardly on the radar. Now that it's been released, people are calling this tactical third-person-shooter the next big thing. They just might be right.
It's been a tough week or so over at Frank Melton's house. First, we broke the news online on Dec. 4 that the young man he is accused of mentoring into helping destroy a Ridgeway Street duplex was arrested for armed carjacking (link). The last time Michael Taylor—who lived in Melton's home until a few weeks ago, was arrested, in late 2005, he was 16 and accused of robbing a barbershop at gunpoint. Then on Aug. 15, the mayor drew the felony for Taylor because investigators say Melton and his bodyguards told him to use a sledgehammer to destroy private property.
As the holidays quickly approach, the price of gasoline is rising. Americans have come to expect an explanation for energy prices that yo-yo up and down in a volatile, seemingly never-ending cycle. But there's hope. In fact, Mississippians are largely responsible for creating it and for ensuring America achieves our goal of energy independence.
Still Bill the Funk Doctor: "Happy holidays, groovy people! This is your 'funk doctor' broadcasting live from the Ghetto Science Team's Telecommunications Center, WGST, 107-and-a-half on your raggedy radio. You've been listening to the holiday hip-hop sounds of D.J. M-Dog's mixtape titled 'Crunk fo' Christmas.' More music is on the way, after these community announcements.
<b><em>Calling the Oscars</b></em>
"And the Oscar goes to" … Frank Melton this year for impersonating police, a Democrat, a law-abiding citizen and his golden performance as an award-winning mayor. I applaud you, sir.
Meeting Erik MacKinnon, 36, and Stephanie Miller, 32, is like crossing paths with the Tasmanian devil and Tinkerbell. A consistent smile and a staccato laughter usually float around Stephanie, especially when she is with her industrious four-year love interest, MacKinnon. The two have dedicated their lives to healing through massage, and though their approaches differ, they are both passionate about the good that massage therapy can do.
I wanted to write a book about some of the things I dealt with in my life, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. For now, I created a new blog so that I can post what's going on in my mind and other people can join the group and share their feelings as well. Maybe if I write enough articles, I can eventually put that book together.
Rodriguez appears to have won with 55 percent of the vote.
In what was largely seen as an upset victory, Ciro D. Rodriguez beat Republican Representative Henry Bonilla in a runoff election, adding one more Democrat to the new House majority secured in November, when Republicans suffered their worse Congressional losses since the Watergate era, says CQPolitics.com. Texas' 23rd runs along the border in southwestern Texas, reaching into the southern portion of San Antonio. Its original boundaries were thrown out by a federal court because the district was only 51 percent Hispanic, which would be unrepresentative of the area; it was redrawn in August to be approximately 61 percent Hispanic. Rodriguez and Bonilla are both Hispanic; Bonilla was the only Mexican-American Republican in the House, although his conservative views drew more support from the non-Hispanic population in his district than from Hispanics.
Tuesday, December 12
Two of Mayor Melton's young housemates are back in jail. Last week, Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Swan Yerger revoked the bond of 17-year-old Michael Taylor for a 2005 armed robbery after the teen allegedly stole a woman's car at gunpoint on Nov. 16, 2006, a story first reported by the Jackson Free Press. This week, WAPT broke the story that a Copiah-Lincoln Junior College student who lives at Melton's house when he's not at college, Jeremy Bibbs, 19, is sitting in a Copiah County jail after allegedly getting caught with a gun on campus.
Minnesota is looking for a men's basketball coach. Charley Waters, columnist for the (St. Paul, Minn.) Pioneer Press Dispatch seems to think that Hattiesburg's most famous former party animal might be headed north.
Last week saw a flurry of resignations from Mayor Frank Melton's administration, starting with City Administration Director Peyton Prospere, whose resignation became public Wednesday. On Friday, Deputy City Attorney Herb Irvin and grant writer Lisa Lucas also resigned. These resignations came only days after Melton vowed to WAPT that he would fire some members of city government.
Crime is still the prevailing concern at neighborhood meetings around the city. With the most recent crime statistics showing increases over last year in both property and violent crime, community members are looking for other ways to deal with the problem beyond calling the police.
King Edward Still Moving
Jackson Attorney David Watkins, who is a partner in King Edward Revitalization Co., along with Deuce McAllister and other investors, said the King Edward redevelopment is still ongoing, despite the absence of cranes and hard hats around the hotel lately.
Monday, December 11
WAPT is reporting that Jeremy Bibbs, who lives with Mayor Frank Melton when he is not in college, has been arrested for carrying a gun on the campus of Copiah-Lincoln Junior College in Wesson, where he is a running back on the football team. Bibbs, who is being held at the Copiah County Detention Center, has lived with Melton since he was arrested for selling 3.9 grams of crack cocaine in August 2003. He is a former football star at Northwest Rankin High School.
The city got stuck with a $200,000 bill for demolishing the Town Creek Apartments and runs the risk of further mass expenditures unless it follows federal procedures in demolishing buildings, Council President Ben Allen said in a special City Council meeting Monday.
Interesting poop about the Gannett Co.'s plans for its daily newspapers. (Remember that Gannett owns The Clarion-Ledger.) It seems that they plan to shift their strategy from producing print newspapers and move more online into their "information centers." More interesting to me is their plans for their papers—shrink them and target older folks. (Isn't this happening already?)
Ain't it the truth? We're surrounded by evidence of this problem, as discussed by Governing magazine. This is a good story, and very thought-provoking. It starts out:
release iTunes exclusive Remix EP...bands and fans leak their own remixes as well. On the cusp of leaking the details to their next album (which they're currently in the midst of recording), Editors have opened the vault to their debut, The Back Room, and passed around the files to various producers, bands and their fans to take a crack at mixing it up. Sebastian, Ghislain Porier, P Nice and Prince Language came together to create Remixed, which will is available exclusively on iTunes. Bands such as Shy Child, Pase Rock, Rubber Bullets, Trackademicks, Phones and Dr. Rock The Knobs have done their own remixes as well...which are not for sale..but rather have been surfacing as streams and downloads all over the web. And to bring it to the fans, the FADER Label partnered with AcidPlanet to create a contest that allows people to do their own remix of Editors' song, "Bullets," for an opportunity to win prizes and have their version featured on the Editors' official site.
The Saints, the media and football fans everywhere knew that the Sunday Night Football game between the cinderella Saints and the surging Dallas Cowboys would be a "tester" for both franchises.
Saturday, December 9
This is what a (male) feminist looks like. It's all worth watching (as it explains the connection between Whedon's mother and the group hosting his speech), but if you're pressed for time, skip ahead to about the 5:10 mark:
It is a rare moment when a debut album can rival an album by The Clash. On several tracks you might think these rockers are channeling Joe Strummer with such raw D.I.Y. money. With a touch of the Replacements, the Vines, Blink 182, the Ramones and classic punk ska/dub, it has been some time since a band has delivered the kind of kick in the ass wake up call as The Strays. This high-energy rock and roll regales a fury of London, politics, guns and your right to revolution. This is the real deal. - Herman Snell
Friday, December 8
The solo debut from Jean-Benoit Dunckel from "Air" masters the fey French disco aesthetic like no one can. Polish "Air" sampled electro-pop and bubblegummed the atmosphere to a perfect pop silk. Darkel doesn't have the trippy dance floor power of "10,000 Hz Legend" or "Kelly Watch the Stars," but the catchy hooks are undeniable and make for great fun, even with lyrics that are a touch silly and trite. It doesn't go down any smoother or mod-disco any cooler than Darkel. -- Herman Snell
Join Donna and Todd for the third annual holiday edition of Southern Fried Karaoke this Saturday, Dec. 9, starting at 9 p.m. in the Hal & Mal's restaurant. Good singers *more* than welcome. Bring your hats and other appropriate props; seasonal sparkles and sequins always welcome.
The Clarion-Ledger is reporting that Judge Swan Yerger has revoked the bond of Michael Taylor, a mentee and housemate of Mayor Frank Melton, in an armed robbery charge brought in late December 2005 because he is a danger to the community. The case has been on Yerger's docket for about a year and has not yet been brought to trial—and Taylor was allowed to stay free even after reports of his role in helping the Melton and his entourage commit felonies on Aug. 15. The Jackson Free Press broke the story on Dec. 4 that Taylor was arrested for an armed carjacking on Nov. 18 and is in the Hinds County Detention Center.
It's really amusing to watch The Clarion-Ledger squirm over their annointed choice for mayor. Today, they start their hand-wringing editorial about Frank Melton with this:
Thursday, December 7
If so, we're looking for him. We have his portfolio, but no number, and really want to talk to him.
The Grammy noms are out. I know I'm harping on music this week, but I told you it's my favorite time of the year. The Dixie Chicks "Not Ready to Make Nice" is the most Grammy-winning song I've ever heard. And Mary J better clean up with "Be Without You," but I just think the best hip-hop is a little whack:
Here's a great ad on marriage equality for same-sex couples:
A clear majority of Americans support civil unions, and an equal majority oppose same-sex marriage. I am absolutely sure that this is because most heterosexuals simply have no idea just how much of a difference there is between the two relationships, in legal terms.
Dec. 4, 2006—Sweet Potato Queen Jill Conner Browne just forwarded us this e-mail. Everyone, please do what you can to help these children get presents this year; drop-off info in Jackson and Oxford is included at the bottom:
Wednesday, December 6
Football coaches, typically, shy from making predictions. But Puckett's Jaris Patrick was willing last week to offer one forecast.
A plane is grounded and searched because of the smell of a burning match. However, the match was not lit to ignite a bomb - it was to cover the scent of another type of silent-but-deadly weapon.
The City Council's Legislative Committee met last Friday to discuss a wish list for the upcoming state legislative session. Rep. John Reeves, R-Jackson, attended the meeting, chaired by Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon.
Michael Stoops says he hasn't spoken at a conference in Mississippi since Ray Mabus was governor, but this Friday, he'll be back behind the lectern, giving the keynote address at this year's Mississippi Annual State Conference on Homelessness at the Eagle Ridge Conference Center in Raymond. Stoops is acting executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless.
Christmas dinners have changed over the years. My family used to sit down to turkey, ham and all the fixins'. Now, my aunt drives three hours to Chicago to buy deep-dish Uno pizzas. It doesn't matter to her that she could just drive around the corner and get one at the local pizza chain—she wants the real deal.
Ex-jobs for Xmas Season?
With three weeks until Christmas, Mayor Frank Melton is again talking pink slips. Melton told WAPT Monday that he plans on shaking up the city's Public Works and City Housing Departments. Days after a year-long water-line break in North Jackson hit the news, Melton said that there are big problems in two departments, and he wants to clean house.
December 6, 2006 The crime summit, once billed as the key to solving crime in Jackson, has devolved into little more than a neighborhood association meeting focused on quality-of-life issues like illegally parked 18-wheelers.
Junior college basketball, Coahoma at Hinds (women, 6 p.m.; men, 8 p.m., Utica): The Eagles play their final games before the holidays.
Monkey and Koncha
Like I've said before, the holidays are not a good time for me and I'm prone to scrooginess since my family is not so close to me anymore. I can be a big whiney titty baby.
You may not think rappers and country rockers meet up too often, but I met Ryan Baucham and Cody Cox of country-rock group Goodman County at Seven*Studioz, where we talked about "ink" (tattoos) for a bit before sitting down with local rap artist Skipp Coon. He said he was familiar with Goodman County's music, and he played some tracks off his latest EP, "A Change Gon' Come." The guys discussed the music industry's shortcomings, day jobs and stories from the road.
-- Herman Snell
As the frontman of the Pink Floyd/Moody Blues-inspired, NYC-based Inouk, Damon McMahon spent the last few years touring with Modest Mouse, Secret Machines, White Magic and the like. His first solo effort on Astralwerks veers his psychedelic folk roots to sit nicely along side folk classics like Gordon Lightfoot, Van Morrison and Cat Stevens. Serve chilled on quiet nights.
On Dec. 7, Emmi Sprayberry and Ron Chane will try to bring something new to their old haunt at Swell-O-Phonic retail store in Fondren: pop art. The new collaboration between Sprayberry and Chane is a product of an old acquaintance: The two met when Sprayberry frequented the store as a high school student. "It was just a place to go, hang out and look at some clothes," she said.
Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon has been a familiar face on the Jackson City Council since the days of Duran Duran. Barrett-Simon's demeanor in an interview is cautious if not timid, which is not the attitude you might expect from a council member who has maintained her seat through so many elections. While other council members make vociferous speeches, Barrett-Simon works with quiet, steady resolve to get the city's business done. In the last few months, however, Barrett-Simon has become increasingly vocal about a number of issues. She led the fight to have City Council investigate Mayor Frank Melton, an effort that was superceded by the criminal indictments against him. She has expressed concern about the shrinking Jackson police department, the contract of City Attorney Sarah O'Reilly-Evans and Melton's penchant for firing people without adequate due process.
It's the most wonderful time of the year, I think. No, not Christmas! End of the year Best of Lists! I'm totally a geek for lists, and I really burst all over with excitement as each big music venue boasts their lists. NPR and Amazon are already up.
America's baby boom generation set out to change the world in the '60s and '70s, and they succeeded. Marching together, they helped stop an unjust, undeclared war and made choice a legal reality for women. They also ushered in an age of increased self-awareness and self-help gurus in an effort to make the closely examined life a life worth living. Many of them, derided as hippies and cock-eyed liberal optimists, found their place in the world by eschewing the moneyed American dream and following their hearts and consciences. Today, their children and grandchildren are on the verge of changing the world yet again.
Is it possible that the LeFleur Lakes proposal—a project to damn the Pearl River and create a system of lakes in the name of flood control and Hinds/Rankin development—isn't the only solution for the Pearl?
I have been away from the writing world for a while, away from the whirling dervishes that are American politics. But I must admit, it's hard to shake off a bad habit, so here I am again, back on my proverbial soapbox.
Jojo: "The older women in my family have a fascinating holiday tradition. Every Christmas they decorate their living room couch next to their coffee table with doll displays. Relatives, friends and visitors also admire the variety of these dolls' arrangements. My grandma's doll display is quite diverse, with dolls of many races, sizes and styles.
After reading all the controversy surrounding the Borat movie, two things have become painfully clear. One, some Americans lack a sense of humor and two, alcohol is a bigot's truth serum.
Young Democrats of Mississippi President Kenneth Grigsby, 32, is an attorney at Phelps Dunbar who's been living in the Jackson area for five and a half years. The Tupelo native and Ole Miss graduate joins his wife, Kathleen, 29, and 3-year-old daughter, Taylor, as some of the little blue Democratic specks living in Madison—though Grigsby says there may be more "specks" in Madison than most people think.
City Chief Financial Officer Peyton Prospere has resigned, effective Dec. 31, according to city spokesman Commander Tyrone Lewis. Prospere will be replaced by Rick Hill, who has worked with Prospere and served the city for years, Lewis said.
Peace and Blessings, my name is Kamikaze. Im a nationally known hiphop artist from Jackson, MS and President of the Mississippi Artists and Producers Coalition. I also write a bi-weekly column for a publication called the Jackson Free Press here. jacksonfreepress.com.
Now, here's a surprise. Bush and Cheney's Iraqi War has not worked. They have underreported the level of violence in Iraq. They need to try a bit of diplomacy. The situation is "sliding toward chaos." With 2,900 American troops dead, and tens of thousands of Iraqis killed in Bush's little "mission accomplished" foray, could we not have reached this conclusion a long time ago? This is infuriating. I'm so sick of morons and liars running our country (city and state, for that matter, but that's a different rant):
I just ran across this excellent quote while researching primary source material for my reference book on criminal justice history. I can't use it in the book, but it's too good not to repeat (emphases mine):
Tuesday, December 5
The Oregonian had a fascinating story a few days ago about an Ethiopian woman whose employers (she was working for a family) basically made her a slave:
It's a good time for music. Though the first single from Jay-z's new album "Kingdom Come" is underwhelming at first listen, Hov's come back album is everything I wanted it to be.
Monday, December 4
Also see Schwindaman's cartoon story: Adventures of Above-the-Law Man!
Blues, blahs...whatever. Regardless of how much I usually love the holidays, the lack of sunlight and heat during the winter makes me feel yucky. It's a yearly battle that I need to be more prepared for, and I'm not the only one out there who has to deal with this.
Sunday, December 3
OK, The Ledger's David Hampton has really wigged out this time. In his column about crime today, he divides all of us Jacksonians into two offensive categories. Don't get too excited trying to figure out which of these extremes you fit into. Enjoy the money quotes:
[From Kamikaze] Banner and I will be on the morning show at 97.7 WRJH on hot talk at 9 on MONDAY talking about the controversy (both Banner's and the Millsaps incident). You guys should tune in and call in with your opinions. Spread the word.
Wow. Check out the lede on this article in today's Metro section.
How Mississippi teams did on the grid on Saturday (keep checking back for updates):
(For instant expert analysis about what happened around the nation, see Matt Hinton's Sunday Morning Quarterback.)
Saturday, December 2
Monta Ellis, the former Lanier High star who jumped straight to the NBA last year, was doing an interview live on ESPN on Friday, which ended abruptly when a Golden State Warriors teammate hit him in the face with a shaving-cream pie. While Ellis recovers (he had to stop the interview after getting soap in his eyes), the Warriors have to ponder what they're going to do with him. Ellis is on his way to becoming a star, which means the Warriors are going to have to pay dearly to hang on to him. That could be a problem, Janny Hu of the San Francisco Chronicle writes:
Friday, December 1
J.R. Walker, the cop whose smoking, ranting face filled the news as he blasted Mayor Melton and the city administration for causing low morale in the ranks of the JPD, has resigned.
The Senate reconvenes on Dec. 4 in what's commonly called a "lame duck" session. Usually a lame duck session means that with the election over, little is expected to be accomplished until the new Congress begins in January. But I'll be working hard to make sure this short session is not lame, but very productive, especially when it comes to extending tax incentives for Mississippi's hurricane-stricken counties.
Police have arrested a white 16-year-old in Byhalia in North Mississippi for burning a cross in a black family's yard.