There’s An Hour I’ll Never Get Back

What a disaster.

“Commander in Chief,” the new television show with Gina Davis as the first lady president, is a phone-it-in, predictible mess whose largest problem is that NBC’s “The West Wing” is still on the air. It’s like trying to market your own lumpy sugar turd water drink against Coca-Cola.

“The West Wing” is subtle, light, and expert at exposition. The first episode of “Commander in Chief” was obvious, heavy, and all about it. First this happened. Then this. Then this. From start to finish, you could almost see the actors ponder the blocking. Finally, it might help to create situations that are actually politically plausible. A conservative presidential candidate drafts a near socialist to the ticket? The Vice President redirects the entire U.S. Navy to save a single woman? The Vice President’s husband is also her Chief of Staff?

Predictible, predictible. The prompter snaps off and the mean, evil Speaker expects her to be flummoxed, but the amazing new President pulls a Bill Clinton and gives a flawless speech anyway! FU, man! I’m the PRESIDENT!

Save your Tivo time. The show to watch is called “The West Wing,” and it is on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. If you need to get caught up, this show in reruns is half the programming on Bravo network.


I was drifting off to sleep last night and was stirred by the strangest noise. There was thrashing and a weird kind of cellophane crunching. I rolled over just in time to see Alice the Cat struggling and banging against the door.

She had come across an empty lunch-sized bag of Lay’s potato chips and had decided to try to get herself a taste. The bag got stuck on her head. My girly girl nearly suffocated herself last night.

She is not long for this world. Her kidney enzymes and a new, persistent limp suggest cancer. Whatever the malady, I do not have the funds to diagnose and treat her properly. So, I watch every day for signs of discomfort or changes in her spirit. She continues to be interested in snuggling, eating, and purring. The minute that changes, she will be off to the vet for a compassionate end.

But that would have been a very stupid way for her to go.

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Tilting At The Shack Out Back

When she visits the Big House, Maddy Pryor has an amazingly specific ritual.

First, she has to explore the house. She walks into the dining room, the kitchen, then downstairs to my space. Then, I have to encourage her outside for a “strictly business” trip. Then, she’s back inside to do a bit more exploring and to collect a biscuit from me.

Soon, she gives me that snort that tells me she wants to go outside again. I have come to expect this trip, the one in which she must go tilting.

I open the door, and she takes off, direct in her purpose. She runs directly to the white shack in the far back right of the yard and growls and barks ferouciously at it. In a moment, she is apparently satisfied that she has appropriately terrified the building, and she wanders the yard for a bit, sniffing. Then, she returns to me.

She only does this once per visit.

Dogs are amazing.

Hey, Gordon…

Aren’t you glad now, Gordon?

Aren’t you glad I dragged your drunken ass out of bed that first night of bachelor party weekend and made you get out on the Quarter with me?

You poor bastard, you were bumped into bunking with me. And we started boozing at the airport and had hit the Quarter by 3 p.m., eating and drinking and were all in bed by 8. I woke up a few hours later, pissed that we were wasting precious moonlight.

“C’mon, get up!” me said. “We’re in New Orleans! We’re in New Orleans!”

You’d lived in New Orleans before, so you knew it, knew how it smelled and what a carnival it’d probably be to a kid like me. So we rolled on down and got drinks t’go and spent a little time in a titty bar.

Then on to Cafe Du Monde, then wandering back to pass out exhausted in our room.

Now that it’s drowning, aren’t you glad I bought you a few more hours awake and alive in New Orleans?

I sure am.

I got to go back, you know, this year, on business. Took a whole afternoon and walked around the Quarter and tried to remember where we’d been, you and me and the crew. And that week, I spent a lot of time at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, which is funny because that’s exactly where all those people are trying to stay safe, and some failing at it.

These are sad and weird times; you can’t count on a place as beautiful as New Orleans staying alive. You can’t count on something as tall as the World Trade Center standing. I am utterly sad because New Orleans will never be the same again, not just for the buildings but for the culture and the food and the magic. Within the next decade, developers will recreate it as a Vegas East, mark my word. That magic is gone, it got done flooded out. It has been regentrified overnight, and I cannot help but wonder if that was part of the plan.