gone pecan

I used to love World New York, Grant Barrett’s old link-heavy site, waaay back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. (Children, it’s true! We had ethernet and everything! No wireless, though.)
His newish site, Double-Tongued Word Wrester, is a linguist’s joy. I can verify, as a native Louisianian, that “gone pecan” does in fact mean “a person who is doomed, defeated, or beyond rescue; a goner.”
I love the fact that Grant works for Erin. There’s gotta be a screenplay in there somewhere.

pulitzer prediction results

Actually, let’s see how I did in predicting the Pulitzers this year, based on the early leaked list of finalists. I actually did pretty well — those of you betting on Pulitzers in Vegas would do well to heed my advice. First, the correct guesses:

  • Commentary: Nick Kristof. Correct!

  • Investigative: WaPo for Abramoff. Correct!
  • National: My prediction: “NYT for wiretapping, although San Diego could sneak in.” Correct! (It was a tie between the NYT and San Diego.)
  • Breaking News: Times-Picayune. Correct!
  • Breaking News Photo: DMN. Correct!

Two I got wrong:

  • International: LAT for Muslims in Europe. Wrong — NYT wins.

  • Explanatory: Miami Herald. Wrong — WaPo wins.

And I’ll give myself half credit for Public Service. The leaked list had WaPo, Toledo, and Biloxi as finalists. I thought it was strange that the T-P wasn’t there and guessed: ” WaPo (secret prisons), although the Times-Picayune should be a finalist here.” Turns out the Pulitzer board overruled judges, made the T-P a finalist after all, then gave the prize to both it and Biloxi.
So, 5-2-1. Not a bad record.

dmn pulitzer!

Mega congrats to the photo staff of The Dallas Morning News, who just won the Pulitzer Prize for their terrific photos of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath. That would be two Pulitzers in three years for our awesome shooters.
And while I’m handing out plaudits, congrats to my old paper The Blade for being a finalist in the public service category, my ex-colleague Mike Sallah for editing a Miami Herald project that was a finalist in explanatory reporting, and ex-DMN photog Damon Winter for being a finalist for feature photography.

random links

Assembled links:
I too never understood why “scumbag” is such a bad word. I mean, I understand it intellectually, but I don’t think anyone my age (30) has ever known it by its original definition. Reminds me of the controversy, somewhere in the mid-’90s, when some TV character used the phrase “That sucks” and some old fuddy-duddies complained that the networks were promoting fellatio. “That sucks” long lost any sexual overtones for most folks my age or younger.
On the other hand, I was recently convinced to stop using “gypped” as a negative term. I hadn’t made any conscious connection between the verb and Gypsies/Roma, but it is pretty clear in retrospect.
– I have the traditional indie-boy suspicion of guitar solos, but I’ll always make an exception for Stevie Ray.
100 reasons to love Rasheed Wallace. And I do, despite his anger issues. (I also love Barry Bonds. Hmmmm.)
My only interaction with Rasheed came a few years ago, when I scored floor tickets to a Mavericks-Blazers game here in Dallas. My seat was in the front row, right under the basket. There were some kids sitting nearby from the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, and during TV time outs, Rasheed would come over and play catch with the kids, swapping bounce passes with eight-year-olds. It was incredibly charming and a really nice thing to do — the kids loved it. Go Rasheed.
– “Gracious Knows These Trousers Bind.”
Russians detain American journalist. Kelly McEvers was in Dagestan on the same fellowship I went to Zambia on back in ’03.

hank williams jr, cajun country

Hank Williams Jr. plans to surrender on assault charges.
The above link is just an excuse to link to video of a very young Hank Jr. singing a song called “Cajun Baby” on Hee Haw. (I’ll look past the stereotypes of my people for a moment, although I continue to be amazed people seem to think Cajuns pronounce “bayou” as “buy-oh.” It’s “buy-you,” people.)
Before Hank Jr. took on his outlaw, Monday-Night-Football-singing persona, he tried being a carbon copy of his dad. If you’ve ever wondered why he always wears dark sunglasses and a beard, here are some details on the accident that wrecked his face [and, for a while, his career] in 1975.
And I don’t want to hear any hatin’ on Hee Haw. Once you get past the corny jokes, it was a good show! (And the girls were hottt.) I watched it every week as a kid. Buck Owens, R.I.P. Here’s some classic Hee Haw video, best viewed after watching Altman’s Nashville.
Even though I grew up in a Cajun family, my grandmother didn’t much care for Cajun music (or “French music,” as her generation called it). Post-World War II, the push for Cajun cultural integration led to an adoption of Nashville country as the music of the realm — particularly in western Cajun country, where I was, which always had an identification with Texas/cowboy culture. (There’s a saddlery and “Western wear” shop across the street from the house I grew up in.)
It wasn’t really until around the time I was born that Cajun music started to become respectable. But the country flavor held on in a lot of families, including my own. (There are a number of embarassing photos of me in cowboy garb.)

20×2 one more time

After SXSW I posted the two-minute movie I made for 20×2 on the assigned theme, secrets. (Here it is again.)
But during 20×2, I used my trusty reporter’s digital recorder to record how the crowd reacted to the movie. I took that audio track and laid it on top of the video from the film, and the result is this movie (11 megs).
An interesting experiment to try: Watch the original and guess which segments got big laughs. Then watch the version with crowd noise and see if you’re right. In retrospect, it mostly makes sense to me, although there are still some spots I was expecting laughs and got none — and some where I was expecting little and got a lot.

soy crisps?

For the record, Glenny’s Soy Crisps taste way better than anything called “soy crisps” have a right to. Seriously, they are addictive. A particular shoutout to Creamy Ranch, Caramel, and Lightly Salted. When they say they’re “better than potato chips,” they ain’t kidding.