Below is a sneak peek of this content!Updates and things. Personal Log 20230726 Distractions! Well, partly. The other part is that I tend to use my Chromebook to write on this website, and other work had me working on the "real" laptop. Yeah, I know, that sounds lame, but hey, it's one of those things. So, the bag with the Chromebook sat as I used the Ubuntu laptop, and Personal Log 20230726 had to wait. Trivial Tacos One of the reasons this smaller laptop stayed in the bag was the romance novel, Trivial Tacos. My authoring software, Scrivener, requires Windows or MacOS. So, that means I have to run it in a virtual machine. That's not exactly something the Chromebook can handle. There are times when I...
Below is a sneak peek of this content!Stuff happening in Personal log for Wednesday, 5-July-2023. Personal Log 20230725 Can sum up things this week simply: things are happening, nothing overwhelming, but still, well, stuff I would rather not be happening. Family medical situations aren't going away. While these aren't my stories to tell, they still have an impact. The Crescent #20 just passed by here at the coffee shop. The trains provide continuity. Things keep rolling along. Distractions I blew up my Mastodon accounts on mstdn.party. They were sort of starter accounts, experimental. Now that I've sorted out what I want to do on Mastodon, I started my own instance. So far so good, but it takes patience. Since Mastodon is "federated," it takes time for other...
Below is a sneak peek of this content!A lot of stuff going on that I don't want to talk about in a Personal Log. Personal Log 20230628 Gotta fix the truck for El Gato Metairie. Not like Arwen's going to do it, as you can see. She's a sweet kitteh, but often lacks motivation. Unless she's chasing a twist tie, that is. Nala's doing well, too. Ever see a video on the TicTacs where you draw a box on the floor with masking tape and a cat will sit in it? That's Nala, but with sunshine. A sunbeam creates a box on the floor, she sitz. They still come supervise me when I'm in the study, teaching via WebEx. Arwen even jumped up on the desk the...
Maurice Carlos Ruffin reads and signs books! Maurice at Melba’s this Saturday.
See Maurice at Melba’s
This Saturday, November 6th, Author/Professor Maurice Carlos Ruffin will be at Melba’s Po-Boys, 1525 Elysian Fields Avenue, in Gentilly, meeting folks and giving away his latest book, The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You. He’ll be there from 12pm-1pm. If you haven’t met Maurice, you’re in for a treat.
The current incarnation of Melba’s has little to connection to the original, other than the name. While this Melba’s is a po-boy place, the original Melba’s was an ice cream place on Franklin Avenue, a couple of blocks on the lake side of Claiborne. It was right near where Franklin and Almonaster came together. Forgive my memory on this. I first learned about Melba’s in the summer of 1973. The Brother Martin High Debate Team got together once a week or so, that July and August. We had some guys who were good at both Debate and the various individual Speech events. So, we worked on a bunch of different things, ranging from research on the national debate topic to practicing Extemporaneous Speaking.
I was a rising sophomore at the time. Debate broke out into two levels of competition, Junior Division for 9th and 10th grades, Senior Division for 11th and 12th. The team nurtured a culture of helping out the new guys. I made the most of that.
Oh yeah, Melba’s. It wasn’t like we could go out for beers after practice, but ice cream was just fine. We all lived in different parts of the city, but we deferred to the choices made by the seniors. A ride down Elysian Fields, then over to Franklin wasn’t all that complicated. Melba’s hit the spot. For a white kid who lived in Metairie, going down to the Ninth Ward was significant. So many kids from the suburbs don’t get out much. Going to school in Gentilly offered opportunities to understand what New Orleans was all about.
Anyway, come out and see Maurice. It’ll be fun.
UNO thoughts – from LSU to U of L and beyond.
Lots of UNO thoughts today
So, I just donated the equivalent of a couple of weeks’ worth of Iced Chai Lattes (my afternoon go-to beverage of late) to the University of New Orleans, for “Give UNO Day.” I’m right proud to do so, because I still believe in my school’s mission. Louisiana State University in New Orleans became a major part of my life when my parents returned to New Orleans from Metro Boston in 1960. For most folks, the university years are a blip on the timeline. For me, UNO is so much more.
Big Ed and LSUNO
My old man learned electronics courtesy of the United States Air Force. After defending Biloxi, Mississippi from the Chinese during the Korean War, Big Ed married his NOLA girl and took a job up in Boston, as an engineer at Raytheon. He worked on the original Hawk missile project for the Army, earning a good salary, with a house in Danvers, the Boston suburb that was the original Salem. His NOLA girl, however, didn’t adjust well to winters in New England. After making two babies, I suspect the combination of spending the days alone in that suburban house (New Englanders don’t socialize much in the snow), along with post-partum depression, momma needed to go home.
Big Ed always did anything he could for Anne. Give up the good job? Go back South? Sure. He landed a job at the then-two year old LSUNO, as manager of its Electronics shop. The College of Science had some fantastic chemists and physicists, even in those early years. They invested in a lot of electronic equipment. It made sense to repair it in-house. Big Ed hired a team to do just that.
Big Ed was an incredible teacher. He ended his time in the USAF as an E-6, teaching electronics. I’m sure he applied those skills at Raytheon. I saw him in action as I got older. It was an absolute blast to go with him to work as a kid. In a way, I had my first “job” at UNO when I was about ten, building Heathkit DC power supplies for the electronics lab daddy and his staff set up for the Physics Department. About the same time, the college invested in a DECSYSTEM 10 mainframe. Computer Science started under Physics, before branching out into an independent department in the college. Daddy kept going with computers. He bought one of the first Motorola integrated circuit learning kids available for the shop. He was always the perfect senior NCO to the officers (professors). I think he was happy with the relationship. It didn’t pay as much as being a “real” engineer, but momma worked as well, so we did OK.
I had two choices for high school. Momma taught many of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart when she was on the Education faculty at Loyola. Being an institution operated by the Society of Jesus, she knew many of the priests and brothers at Jesuit High School. I chose Elysian Fields over Carrollton and Banks. That decision process is an entirely different story that we’ll get to at some point. While LSUNO didn’t fit into that decision, the university’s influence in my life grew.
It was so much more than hitching rides home with daddy. Brother Martin High School operated in the shadow of the university. An example: In Composition II class as a sophomore, Brother Bernie piled us all onto a school bus and took us up to the Earl K. Long Library. The university’s library used Library of Congress rather than Dewey Decimal. We learned where everything was, and that resource was just twenty-five cents away for the rest of my high school years.
The Brother Martin Debate Team competed all over the metro area, but LSUNO’s tournament was special, because a number of the guys running the tournament were BMHS grads. I don’t know if my trophies from the 1974 tournament are the last items branded as LSUNO or not, but the change became official while we were competing. We were still high schoolers, but the excitement was infectious. It wasn’t a foregone conclusion that I’d go to UNO at that time. Loyola University was quite appealing to me, particularly because debate-team-me harbored that desire to become a lawyer. I got accepted to both schools. My parents would have found the money to pay for Loyola, but given just how much cheaper the state school was, well, that was a no-brainer. Daddy hooked me up with a job in the Chemistry Department my freshman year. I moved on from that to selling suits at Maison Blanche. I made enough money to pay tuition for every other semester.
So, yes, I am right proud to give to my school. While many people were upset when UNO left the Louisiana State University System, becoming part of the University of Louisiana System, I was OK with it. The mission continues.
(to be continued…)