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Monthly Archives: January 2011

“Home” Bound

I’m heading to Lafayette, LA for the weekend — my hometown. Well, technically, I grew up in Youngsville. Actually, I technically lived in the country between Lafayette, Youngsville, Milton and Erath. Both my mother and my father’s families have been in that area for hundreds of years and I’m about as Cajun as you can get. That’s why there’s always been such a magnetic pull towards “home”.

When I moved 60 miles down the road to Baton Rouge in the late ’80s, my Daddy lamented on my moving away. We lived there for 10 years, so he got used to us being just an hour from home, even though not having us within 10 miles concerned him. Then, we moved to Memphis and all hell broke loose. Both of our families were supportive of our move, but secretly criticized our living so far away to each other. What were we thinking? Why would we do such a thing? We needed to be closer, not farther from “home”. After six years of 7 hour drives and late night, expensive air travel, and not-so-subtle hints from family, we chose to move to Mobile, AL. With both of our fathers facing health problems, four hours seemed doable on short notice and within the cone of reasonable travel for visitors to well, visit us.

Still, our families cannot understand why not Lafayette? Why not “home”, for goodness sakes? Everyone needs to be together, after all. While we love our families, and love the area where we grew up in, once you’ve been away for so long, it’s hard to just “go back”. Maybe one day, it’ll happen. After all, our son (who has never lived there) is now going to college there. I know that my Daddy would be so glad. He always thought that David would never be tied to his Cajun roots and now he’s in the heart of Cajun Country. Might even find him a Cajun bride there. He says that Cajun girls are prettier than Alabama girls. HA!

There’s just something in our DNA that pulls us there. It’s hard to explain, but it’s got the best people, the best food, the best music, the best activities and it all centers around family and friends. It’s the only place where I’ve ever felt true acceptance. Perhaps it’s the sincerity and honesty of the people or maybe it’s the joie de vivre in which they work hard/play hard. But, whatever it is, it’s strong.

So strong that Kansas City Royal pitcher, Gil Meche, has announced his retirement at 32 and forfeited $12 million of his last year’s contract to get back to his hometown of Lafayette.

He captures it pretty well, in this quote:

“I want to get back to what I remember as a kid, the way of life here in Louisiana,” Meche said. “We tend to think we live a little differently down here. It’s a lot of culture, a lot of French culture. Everywhere I’ve been in the country, for some reason, this is the place I can’t get away from.”

That’s another Cajun trait that I adore…money ain’t everything. Those who have family and friends are the richest people and whatever money you have just helps to pay for things that you can do with them. So, this weekend, I’m going to do just that. Spend a little time and money with/on friends and family, at “home”.

Another Lafayette native, Marc Broussard:

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2011 in cajun, family, Louisiana, Marc Broussard

 

Charlie Louvin – Harmonizing in Heaven

1927 - 2011

Country Music Hall of Famer, Charlie Louvin, passed away yesterday at the age of 83 of pancreatic cancer.

While you may not recognize his name or that of his brother, Ira, as the Louvin Brothers, they brought close harmony into the mainstream in 1950s, subsequently influencing groups like The Everly Brothers, The Beach Boys and Gram Parsons/The Byrds. These groups, of course, have been sited influences to modern harmonic groups like Boyz 2 Men, The Backstreet Boys, Brandi Carlile and The Secret Sisters (one of my new favorites — but that’s another post). As a pioneer of harmony, Charlie Louvin stands as one of those who quietly make a lasting impact on music. While he and his brother may have been largely forgotten by the larger music industry, their impact is deep and lasting.

My professed love of harmony is well documented here, and I still love it so. So, thank you Charlie Louvin. Thank you for your talent and your influence on generations of musicians and singers. The thread of harmony through generations…

If I Could Only Win Your Love, The Louvin Brothers

All I Have to Do is Dream/Cathy’s Clown, The Everly Brothers

Don’t Worry Baby, The Beach Boys

Turn, Turn, Turn, The Byrds (Gram Parsons)

I Want it That Way, The BackStreet Boys

Have You Ever, Brandi Carlile

Tennessee Me, The Secret Sisters

 

Happy 80th Birthday, Sam Cooke!

Mold-breaker. Extreme talent. Pioneer. Soul Stirrer.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2011 in birthdays, dudes, inspiration, music legends, Soul

 

Commercial Music

I’ve found some really great musical gems from TV Commercials lately. Either I’m watching too much TV or the creators are not your father’s Mad Men. Here’s a few of my recent favorites:

Powerful Stuff, Sean Hayes – Subaru

Love, Matt White – McDonald’s McRib

Say Hey (I Love You), Michael Franti & Speerhead – Corona

Hey Soul Sister, Train – Samsung 3D TV

Morning Sun, Shayna Zaid & The Catch – Ford Edge

So, does putting interesting and/or appealing music really sell more product? I say it doesn’t hurt and it prohibits me from turning the channel when I hear it come on…so it is certainly creating awareness for these advertisers. And in the advertising business, that is key. Plus, it gives exposure to new artists that might not ever be “discovered”.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2011 in Emerging Artists, Marketing, soundtracks, TV

 

Modern Problem: “Alone” Time

THIS is why I LOVE Modern Family.

Familiar?

Leave a comment, PLEASE!

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2011 in family, Funny, Modern Family, that's life, TV

 

Free at Last…

That’s right! The Louisiana Lethario, the Riverboat Gambler, the Silver Fox, the Cajun Capon, is out of prison after serving over eight years of his ten year sentence for rigging riverboat gaming licenses (a little thing called bribery and extortion). The 83-year-old Edwards was released into a halfway house in Baton Rouge, but is likely to serve out his release conditions in Baton Rouge with his daughter, Anna Edwards.

Now, all you non-Louisianians are likely saying, “So what? Another politician caught with his hand in the cookie jar…glad he went to prison and he deserves the public shunning he’ll get for the rest of his life.” Ah, but this is Louisiana, people. And to understand the enormity of this news, you have to understand Louisiana politics and the maelstrom that is Edwin W. Edwards.

There are some monumental political figures in Louisiana’s history….Governor and Senator Huey P. Long, his nephew and renowned U. S. Senator Russell Long, Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Senator John Breaux, etc., but none are as renowned, celebrated and talked about as “Fast Eddie” Edwards.

You see, EWE hit the Louisiana scene when the state was going from a sleepy, backwater farm and seafood economy to the back room for the oil industry. In the late ’60s and through the ’70s, oil money was FLOWING, particularly in South Louisiana — home to one little cajun girl who shall remain nameless.

I have vivid memories of Edwin Edwards. He was the first Governor and yes, celebrity that I can recollect. Like many Louisiana towns, the small town that I grew up in had a fall festival every year that was part fund-raiser for worthwhile community causes and, in the Cajun way of life, a concentrated effort in celebration and party….you know, the joie de vivre. In Youngsville, that was the Festival of Beauties. We had a full carnival, complete with boardwalk, carney booths and amusement rides. My absolute favorite was the Tilt-A-Whirl, where centrifical force held you against the wall while the floor dropped out. I can still remember the thrill of the first time I mustered up the courage to ride “The Bullet”.

There was the Friday night Fais Do Do held outside at the old Elementary School that I attended and where my uncle was the principal — my Daddy’s best friend growing up was my 7th grade homeroom teacher. French music permeated the festive air where parents showed off their dance moves to mesmerized children waiting to ask for another two dollars worth of quarters for the rides. Then, on Saturday, the whole town (and then some) attended the beauty pageant to crown our queen. My Nanny (Godmother) usually played the accompniment on piano and many times I sat next to her, again mesmerized at her uncanny ability to playing everything by ear, simply hearing the song once.

Finally, on Sunday, the festival was capped off by a big parade, complete with various high school marching bands, floats and politicians pressing the flesh for votes in the next election. That’s where I was first exposed to the phenomenon that was Edwin Edwards. This particular year was an election year, so many politicians showed up to shore up their electorate. Edwards was running for Governor and need every Cajun voter to go out there and pull the lever for him. Of course, in my pre-adolscent mind, politics was a non-starter. This particular year, I was more concerned about my role as a junior maid for the festival and making sure that I got my “princess waive” down pat. (On the left…)

However, the irrepressible Edwin Edwards was not to be upstaged by a bunch of girls…young or old. He walked the length of the parade route (about 5 miles), basking in the adulation of his adoring Cajun public who dreamed of touching the cloak of their king. You see, in South Louisiana, there is no more adored thing than one of their own. Edwards was a product of Marksville — considered Yankee territory to most Cajuns –but his mother was a fluent, french-speaking Cajun Catholic. These two traits basically cannonized him in the hearts of the whole of South Louisiana. His savvy scrappiness and dedication endeared him to North Louisiana. So, one the whole, he was THE MAN for Louisiana.

To properly understand his magnetism among the Cajuns and Louisianians as a whole, you have to understand the vehement loyalty that this society has for one of their own. Many a foible is overlooked if you are deemed to be “one of us”. There have been few too many Cajun heros, but those attaining that status can do no wrong no matter what wrong they do. A few Cajun legends with this status: Ron “Louisiana Lightning” Guidry – Cy Young Award-winning New York Yankee; WWII Hero Claire Chennault; Kentucky Derby jockey, Calvin Borel; 1996 Miss America, Ali Landry; and, Cleveland Browns’ QB Jake Delhomme, not name a few. Those attaining this status are pure Cajun gold — never paying for a meal or a new car…heh.

Cajuns are, by nature, a pragmatic and forgiving people, so a little malfeasant is tolerated, if not expected. Edwin Edwards had a perfect understanding of this and simply took full advantage of his legend status with the people of Louisiana.

Even after the first round of twelve years as Governor and law-bending, Edwards came back to the populus to return him back to the glory spot. I was among those who reluctantly held my nose and pulled the lever for EWE in 1991 when he ran against one David Duke. The choice was between a known philanderer/crook vs. a known racist. A popular bumper sticker of the time? ” “Vote for the Crook. It’s Important.”

To his credit, Edwards fully understood the public quandry and fully played it up. When asked about his chances of beating David Duke, he responded that the only way he could lose was “if he was caught in bed with a dead woman or a live boy”. Now THAT, is cahonas.

I still remember the day that we saw the cop cars screaming down Highland Road toward the Country Club of Louisiana. It was 1996 and it was the day we were moving to Memphis. Come to find out, they were headed to Edwards’ house to arrest him. At that time, I was elated that the crook was finally caught. He had brought shame to the Cajun Nation and failed to live up to his promise as the Cajun Redeemer.

However, now — after 15 years of bad politics and representation across the nation — I have to wonder…was he really all that bad? After all, he did more for Louisiana and its’ government than any Governor before or since. Good, bad or indifferent, Edwin W. Edwards was a leader, albeit a greedy one…and, he will always be — a CAJUN. Therefore, I say, live and let live. Let the old man play out his days in peace and freedom…unless I start seeing Edwards 2011 bumper stickers.

 

Modern Family, Modern Funny

Absolutely the best show on TV, Modern Family continues to entertain me (no small task) each Wednesday at 9pm EST, 8pm CST on ABC.

Now, I used to be a huge situation comedy fan when I was younger, dedicated to M*A*S*H, Happy Days, Barney Miller, Maude, and Good Times. However, in my adult years, not even Seinfeld held my attention for long — until Modern Family.

A serious LOL for the 21st Century, Modern Family centers around three families in the larger context of one family. The conventional unconventionalness of the family dynamic among the families is what really makes this show so appealing. Everyone can find themselves somewhere in the Modern Family.

Here’s a family tree of characters (click for larger picture):

If I had to choose just one favorite character, it would have to be Cam (actor Eric Stonetreet). The flamboyant yet tough former football player partner of Mitchell (actor Jesse-Tyler Ferguson). Together, they adopted Asian baby, Lily.

While I actually love ALL the characters in this show, my next favorite would have to be Manny (actor Rico Rodriguez). The young, latin impresario is the son of Gloria (actress Sofia Vergara) who is the young, Columbian wife of Jay (actor Ed O’Neill a/k/a Al Bundy), who happens to be Mitchell’s father.

And, then, there’s the Dunphys. Perhaps the most traditional family among the group, with a Mom, a Dad, and three kids who are all their’s together. Father Phil (actor Ty Burrell) and mother Claire (actress Julie Bowen) tackle everyday issues with their teenage/pre-teen daughters and young son with humor, love and a little neuroticness. Claire is Mitchell’s sister and Jay’s daughter — hence, the family connection.

The writing on this is show is brilliant. Christopher Lloyd, Steve Levitan and their talented staff of scribes no doubt pull from their own family and life experiences which is likely what makes the show and characters so identifiable. They delve into sometimes dark places like OCDness, prejudice, fears and phobias, etc. but do it with authenticity and self-depreciating wit.

Each week, I look forward to see where the Modern Family will go. Currently, it’s right to the top of the ratings. Well done, Modern Family, well done.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2011 in family, Funny, Good Stuff, Modern Family, TV

 

Happy Birthday, E!

The "real" Elvis -- sans black hair dye

76 yesterday. Man, I miss Elvis. Six foot of steel and sex appeal…

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2011 in Elvis

 

Eye of the Tiger, Haters!

Les “Fear the Hat” Miles lead the Bayou Bengals to an ass-whippin’ over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl last night, 41-24. The Aggies quick-tempo offense had the Tigers off balance for the 1st quarter, but the LSU speed, agility, and pure strength simply overwhelmed the puny Aggies. The LSU OFFENSE (Who knew?)
dominated the Aggie “Wrecking Crew” Defense.

The Mad Hatter's autograph on the Visitors' Wall at Cowboy Stadium

While our coach may not appear to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, he’s the only LSU coach to have FOUR 11 win seasons (in 6 years). Even the great Nick Saban doesn’t have that in his pocket. So, Coach, go ahead and mangle your words, eat Tiger Stadium grass, and keep going for it on 4th down — just keep winning and you’ll be a bigger Louisiana legend than Edwin Edwards!

My dear, old Daddy used to always say, “The smartest thing you can do is to let people think you are stupid and then prove them wrong.” Keep proving them wrong, Coach.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2011 in cajun, lsu, lsu football

 

Birth of a Consultant

Happy Friday!

GEAUX TIGERS!!! Beat the Aggies!

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2011 in Calling Bullsh*t, Funny

 
 
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