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Tag Archives: New Orleans

Hate A Random Region: The Caribbean

28 Feb

I know what you’re thinking.  “Aren’t you only supposed to violently scrutinize one country, not an entire region of the globe?”  So before I embark on my xenophobic hate journey, allow me to succinctly answer your question: No.

Now, without further ado, let’s get this slander ball rolling.  In rather uncharacteristic fashion, I have organized this rant into an enumerated series of grievances against that pathetic excuse of a geographic region known as the Caribbean Sea.

The Gulf Coast is also great for tourism, assuming you want to light yourself on fire while scuba diving

Grievance 1: The Gulf of Mexico

Remember that scene in the Lion King in which Mufasa explains to Simba that everything the light touches is his kingdom?*  Well, the same goes for The Gulf of Mexico, it’s just different in that everything it touches is unbelievably heinous.  Allow me to elaborate on this disgusting area that kind of qualifies as the Caribbean Sea.

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Other Things David Stern Should Veto

12 Dec

The most hated white man in the league since Toni Kukoc

When sports journalists heard about the NBA Commissioner’s probably ill-advised decision to veto a trade that would’ve sent New Orleans point guard Chris Paul to the Lakers, they practically pooped themselves with rage, railing about the end of the NBA with an apocalyptic despair that would’ve made Harold Camping proud. When I heard about the NBA’s decision, all I could think about was the goodness that could be accomplished by extending David Stern’s veto power, trigger-happy finger, and ‘screw it, I don’t care if I ruin the seasons of three teams’ attitude into other walks of life. Here are the fruits of that aforementioned thinking:

1. Rick Perry’s Presidential Campaign
Here at Sherman Ave we love Rick Perry. Oh wait, no we fucking don’t. No one in their right minds could ever stand to be in the same room, much less vote for, that intolerable shitmuffin. It now seems utterly ridiculous that people as intelligent as Mike Murphy actually thought that Perry could win the Republican nomination. Well, they were about as wrong as Custer’s last words. If only David Stern had stepped forward in August to stop this embarrassing shitshow of a campaign from ever launching.

His dreams were crushed by David Stern. M. Night Shyamalan's should be, too.

2. M. Night Shyamalan’s ability to make movies
So The Sixth Sense was maybe kind of okay. But I dare anyone to make it through The Happening without puking in a biological attempt to reject the atrocity from staying with you. Shyamalan made only one or two movies that could ever be considered ‘good,’ and everything since then has been so unbearably atrocious that Shaymalan should be prevented from ever tainting our eyes with such heinousness again. Unfortunately, the good people at Disney (and by “good people” I of course mean “stupid fucktards”) just keep signing off on his movies. Let’s get Stern in there to crush them the way he crushed Chris Paul’s dreams.

3. No Shave November
I’ll be honest, this year I tried doing No Shave November for the entire month, to see once and for all if I could really grow a beard. I can’t. And I’ve got news for everyone else who has tried it: you can’t either. You do look like an atrocious hobo, though. Congrats. Scumbag Steve would be horrified by your hygiene. Now let’s please agree to never do No Shave November again.

4. New Rebecca Black songs

Rosa Parks' personal hero

Katy Perry has no regrets — only love — about going all the way tonight. I have the same feelings about Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” Yes, it’s horrible, and yes, it probably shouldn’t exist, and yes, it speaks to some very heinous problems at the base of our modern society, but god damn is it funny. I’m glad it exists, and those two weeks where everyone in America absolutely refused to talk about anything else were just awesome. I feel bad for the hypothetical children I may or may not give birth to in the future because they will never have the experience of waiting at midnight for the release of Harry Potter books or movies, and I feel bad for them because they will never have the experience of going to school on March 18, 2011 (the Friday after the song came out) when everyone everywhere was singing “It’s Friday, Friday, GOTTA GET DOWN ON FRIDAY.” For two weeks it was fun to laugh, at the insipid songwriting, at the random rap verse that doesn’t make sense, at the problems with modern celebrity culture, but then those two weeks were over and we all moved on. DIDN’T WE?????

Apparently not. Apparently the ARK Music Factory thought that when 268,000 people disliked the “Friday” video, that meant “we love this, give us more please.” I hate to be the one to break this to you, Patrice Wilson, but when 268,000 people disliked the “Friday” video, it means they didn’t like it. At first, Rebecca Black was sad and kind of funny. Now she’s just sad.

5. Bill O’Reilly’s book about Lincoln
The only thing more ridiculous than the sentence “Bill O’Reilly wrote a book about the Lincoln assassination” is the sentence “Bill O’Reilly wrote a book about the Lincoln assassination that wasn’t true.” Yes. We live in a fucked up world. And while I think we have all accustomed ourselves to Fox News’s ridiculous excuse for news coverage, we don’t need them fucking up history as well. That’s Ross Packingham’s favorite subject!

6. “Ultimatum” by Jeph Loeb
If you’re a normal person, then it probably doesn’t mean anything to you when I say that Jeph Loeb fucked up the Ultimate Universe, but he did, and it is an intolerable atrocity.

Something doesn't seem right...

Quick nut graf: shortly after the dawn of the new millennium, Marvel Comics attempted to reinvigorate interest in their brand by creating an offshoot label, dubbed the Ultimate Universe, where they relaunched characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men as if their 40 year history didn’t exist, and the characters had been created in the year 2000. It worked. The stories were great, and their modern reworking of occasionally anachronistic Sixties concepts had a huge influence on Marvel’s later movie adaptations.

But in the year 2008, Marvel executives handed the creative reins of the Ultimate Universe to Jeph Loeb. It seemed like a sensible decision, as Loeb had won acclaim writing Batman at DC Comics. But whereas Loeb had done well on Batman with a strategy of utilizing Batman’s colorful cast and intriguing antihero sensibility, his plan for Ultimate Marvel was a little more like “destroy everything and kill every character.” His miniseries “Ultimatum” was basically a giant shit all over the Ultimate Universe, whose comics had helped spike my interest in the medium and which I still give to people who mention an interest in comic books, and I can no more forgive him for that than Eddie Murphy can forgive SNL for making one joke about him once.

And most importantly…

My First Quarter Grades
More important than any of the other things combined. I must admit, I got so caught up in college heinousness this quarter that I didn’t exactly get Will Hunting grades. Sure, it’s not like I stayed up past 2 am sequestered in the library every night of reading week preparing for my Ancient Philosophy final, but if Stern could have some words with Morty re: my grades, that would be dandier than Sebastian Flyte.

If that isn’t a convincing reason for giving David Stern a time machine and being done with it, I don’t know what is.

Badasses in History: Jean Lafitte

31 Oct

The Somalians know what's up

Pirates rock. And no, I’m not talking about the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, only the first of which was really any good. Yeah, Johnny Depp is a great actor, and Jack Sparrow is awesome and even got a song written about him by The Lonely Island. But in general, the movies sucked. At least we can all agree, real life pirates were awesome.

Well actually, most of them fucking sucked.

Being a pirate in the 18th and 19th centuries was a lot like being a cook at some shitty “restaurant” like McDonald’s. People made fun of you and you had no job security. Also, you were dirty, smelled bad, and were more than likely illiterate. I’ll end the comparison here, but I could go on and on.

The point is, the life of a pirate was not glamorous. Pirates more often stole food and everyday goods than gold. And really, what kind of idiot would bury his treasure as opposed to simply fucking buying an island or something?

Also, scurvy.

Widely renowned as “the douche of the seven seas”, scurvy killed more pirates (and sailors in general) than any high seas adventure ever did. If Pirates of the Caribbean depicted the life of a pirate accurately, 90% of the crew would have been dead of scurvy, disease, and starvation at the end of the first hour, and Jack would have either been caught or just said “fuck it all, I’m going back to land” in the fifteen minutes after that, thus ending the film before most of us could finish our two-foot long hoagies.

As you can see, being a pirate left a lot to be desired.

Way too badass for a frechman

Unless of course, you were Jean Lafitte.

I know what you’re thinking. Yes, he was French. But he was so badass it doesn’t matter.

He has more epithets than can conveniently fit on a business card: “The Corsair”, “The Buccaneer,” “The King of Barataria,” “The Terror of the Gulf,” “The Hero of New Orleans”; all of them names for the same man, the same baller. The same Pirate King.

For have no doubt, that is what he was. Jean Lafitte was an honest-to-goodness King of the Pirates. Operating out of Louisiana, Lafitte claimed as his kingdom much of the Gulf of Mexico and large parts of the Louisiana bayous, including the city of New Orleans.

A maze of swamps, bogs, river deltas and marshes, Lafitte’s realm was nigh-inaccessible to outsiders, and left hundreds of government bounty-hunters shitting their pants in frustration, while the crocodiles sat nearby playing poker, commenting that these newcomers were really rather mannerless. Imagine! Entering a swamp without offering some meat. The nerve!

Frivolity aside, Lafitte was something else. While a pirate, Lafitte was also something of a philanthropist, providing much needed supplies and foodstuffs to the poverty-stricken people of early-1800s New Orleans at low prices, without expectation of real compensation. In fact, Lafitte would often give the goods away for free. Here, for example, is a posting regarding one such event:

COME ONE! COME ALL!
TO JEAN LAFITTE’S
BAZAAR & SLAVE AUCTION
TOMORROW
AT THE TEMPLE
== FOR YOUR DELIGHT ==-
CLOTHING GEMS & KNICK-KNACKS
FROM THE SEVEN SEAS

And the people of New Orleans came. Men and women, parents and children, all loved Lafitte for the bounty he provided. What kind of a-hole wouldn’t like this sort of guy?

(Yes, slaves probably didn’t like him. Ignore that for the moment)

Funny you should ask. The answer is this fuck: William Charles Cole Claiborne (who you know is a douche because he has four names. Pretentious shit folks. Pretentious shit). Claiborne, naturally, was the Governor of New Orleans, a guy who really didn’t give a fuck about the welfare of his citizens.

Let’s be real here, if a Pirate King is more generous than you, you’re probably an asshole. Likely of some extremely smelly animal. Let’s say, for the sake of discussion, an elephant’s asshole. Yeah, that big of an asshole.

Claiborne was such a fuckwad that he issued a posting offering $300 for Lafitte’s head. And no, the reward did not count if Lafitte’s head was still attached to his neck. In any case, three-hundred dollars back then was a lot of money. But Lafitte, being such a generous soul, responded as any badass would.

He simply put out an advertisement of his own, offering $1000 dollars for the head of the Governor, a giant middle-finger to authority if ever there was one.

This, along with Lafitte’s so-called “piracy” (lolz), led Claiborne to try to create a militia with the sole purpose of popping a cap in Lafitte’s French ass. This unfortunately made Lafitte angry. And like the Hulk, you would not like Lafitte when he was angry.

Before I continue, I need to take a moment to explain something about Lafitte. He was, by all accounts almost always a perfect gentleman. Let me quote Joseph Geringer, author of an article entitled Jean Lafitte: Gentle Pirate of New Orleans.

Many stories exist, most of them founded on fact, attesting to his chivalry. When a family named Martin found itself in danger caught in a rowboat during a violent storm in the Gulf of Mexico, a vessel manned by Lafitte took them aboard. Mrs. Martin’s diary reads: “Lafitte the Pirate…treated us with all kindness possible (providing us with) a bountiful breakfast (and) even supplying a hat for my husband who had lost his own.

He gave the man a hat! How fucking cute is that!?

But seriously, Lafitte was a stand-up guy.

On another occasion—I shit you not; this sounds like it is straight out of a Disney movie:

A charming story relates the night that the pirates were playing cards in Lafitte’s den. An argument had broken out between Lafitte’s crew and Gambi’s, the latter blaming the others for cheating. “We shall have a third party cut the cards,” Lafitte announced and sent Thiac to summon one of the fishermen from the coast up to his house. When the fisherman arrived he looked nervous; he had brought with him his little daughter in hopes that these pirates wouldn’t harm him in front of his child.

Lafitte smiled when he saw the girl and asked her to cut the deck, explaining to her in a gentle voice what that meant. She did, and Lafitte went on to win the play. Gambi stormed out. Before they left, the island chief called the little girl to his lap, thanked her for her help and dropped a $20 gold piece into her palm. She grew up never forgetting the dashing pirate who had been so kind to her.

Hopefully voiced by Tom Hanks

Seriously, how has Disney not made a movie out of this? It has adorable children and the softening of the heart of a “cold” man.

It’s literally like Up if you replace the tiny old guy with a badass Frenchman (I’m still not used to having those words together like that) and the fat boy scout with a precious little creole girl.

Also, replace the dog with, let’s say, a crocodile with a monocle and top hat? Yeah, that works.

So clearly, Lafitte was not just a badass, he was a nice badass, which is arguably much much rarer.

Well, he was usually nice. Like I mentioned earlier, Lafitte had a bit of a temper. At one point during his reign as Pirate King of Barataria, a group of men assembled outside Lafitte’s home, threatening mutiny. Lafitte, badass that he was, came outside his home (presumably to the sound of thundering trumpets, as John Williams or Danny Elfman arranges the nearby orchestra) with a smile.

He was, in fact, still smiling when he strode up to the leader of the mutiny and casually shot the man in the face, then turned (continuing to smile I imagine) and returned to his evening dinner without a word.

Lafitte: 1, Mutiny: 0

Pure fucking ownage.

To add to his badassitude, Lafitte was also an accomplished duelist. And by “accomplished” I mean “Inigo Montoya, check what’s really up.” Reputedly, Lafitte never lost a duel, and was one of the most skilled rapier-duelists of the age.

In fact, legend has it that one night while eating dinner with his lady-companion at what would later become the Courtyard of Two Sisters Restaurant, Lafitte was challenged three separate times. Pausing momentarily to presumably offer the men the chance to leave with their lives and their dignity (or at least their lives), Lafitte apologized to the lady and drew his rapier.

Three dead douchebags later, Lafitte is said to have returned unharmed and unflustered to his filet mignon with cabernet sauce, which he proclaimed excellent.

But what really makes Lafitte so fascinating is this: he loved America, even though he was a French pirate.

Seriously, he ordered his men to never fire on or raid an American vessel. The one time someone did, Lafitte himself shot the troublemaker.

Despite this (as we’ve seen), American politicians (fuck you, Claiborne) and even Presidents continued calling for Lafitte’s capture and execution. They didn’t really care which one.

It wasn’t until the War of 1812 came along that Colonel Andrew Jackson—yes, that Andrew Jackson—decided it might be better to have Lafitte on their side. And because Lafitte loved America, he agreed to help.

He didn’t do very much useful though.

Oh wait, yes he fucking did. He was actually almost single-handedly responsible for the American victory at the Battle of New Orleans. You know, the one that later helped then-Colonel Andrew Jackson later win the White House and that helped the Americans repel the British. Yeah, that Battle of New Orleans.

A badass always recognizes a fellow badass

Jackson was thankful (duh) and requested that the U.S. government grant Lafitte and his men pardons for their earlier crimes. The request was granted and Lafitte in many ways became a national hero. Jackson in fact wrote Lafitte a personal letter of gratitude as well, one Lafitte would always taken great pride in:

“I do an act of justice, and at the same time one very agreeable to my feelings to state the services you have rendered during the late invasion of your country…Sir, to one of those to whom the country is most indebted, I feel great pleasure in giving this testimony of your worth, and to add the sincere promise of my private friendship and high esteem.”

Personal thanks for Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson himself and the title of “Hero of New Orleans”? NBD. Just a day in the life of Jean Lafitte.

But, since most people are fucking assholes, rumors began to circulate that Lafitte was once again committing crimes, this time adding a number of murders to the list. Things became so ugly that Lafitte and his men thought it wise to depart their much-loved New Orleans, choosing to settle anew on Galveston Island, off of Texas.

For a time, he became a freelance privateer, working for Mexico to sink and steal from Spanish ships. This obviously pissed Spain off.

Unfortunately, America was also trying to make an alliance with Spain at the time, so American politicians being what they are, they totally ignored how Lafitte had fucking saved their asses and instead sent soldiers to tell Lafitte to either abandon his new island or be destroyed.

Once again, it was unwise to make Lafitte angry, as he simply torched his entire island, probably mooning the navy as he did so.

Did he die?

No. When the flames died down, the navy went to inspect the island and found all of Lafitte’s ships missing. Where he went from there, no one knows. Lafitte never again appears in any known history.

Maybe he is still out there. King of the Pirates, Badass of the Seas.

Top 10 Least Advisable Halloween Costumes

26 Oct

Awww, costumes used to be so cute...

It’s almost that time of the year again! No, not off-year election day. Sadly, not the end of finals yet. And no, we’re not even talking about my birthday. But something even more exciting is happening this weekend: Halloween!

Halloween at Northwestern is a magical experience, when the female undergrad population is magically transformed from Harvard rejects into sexy cheerleaders, sexy members of the Greek pantheon, sexy animals — even sexy Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth — while the guys are left to dress up as “writers” and try to get sexy Hilary Clinton’s phone number. But considering Northwestern’s proud tradition of outlandishly offensive Halloween costumes, it seemed necessary to take a brief moment to warn the student body of ten potential costumes that might not fit with the spirit of the holiday.*

10. Tim Pawlenty’s Presidential Campaign
The reanimated dead have always held a special place in American culture. That’s why zombies and Barbara Walters are still so popular today. But as cool as a zombie costume can be for Halloween, Tim Pawlenty’s presidential aspirations just aren’t such a good idea to bring back to life in costume form. Besides, nobody would even know your name.

Sir Twattingworth and Ross Packingham on a typical Wednesday night

9. Sir Edward Twattingworth III
Unless you’re going to a party with a “heinous” theme, you should probably avoid dressing up as Sir Edward Twattingworth III. As much as we’d love to see our fans don Twattingworth’s characteristic Ed Hardy t-shirt, camouflage parachute pants, gold chains, and bowler hat, we don’t want anybody to get mistaken for an ETHS sophomore and thrown out of a frat basement. If you want to show your support for Sir Twattingworth, we suggest dressing up as his betrothed to be, Pippa Middleton.

8. Dan Persa’s Achilles Tendon
Too soon, asshole. That broken tendon was more heartbreaking to the NU student population than the closing of Pomegranate, and more disappointing than watching a Northwestern secondary in pass protection. Somebody’s going to sack you for a loss like Kain Colter facing the blitz.

The good thing about the Qaddafi regime: nobody was bold enough to make the mistake of offering Almond Joys for Halloween

7. Colonel Qaddafi
This should be a pretty easy costume to cobble together. All you really need is to grow out some poor facial hair (easy enough for most Northwestern students), borrow your grandpa’s old sunglasses, and commit numerous crimes against humanity (start by playing Nickelback at every party you attend). The only drawback: that hipster in the Mubarak costume insisting that he was into Arab regimes before it was cool.

6. Fucksaw
Hilarious as this might still be, nobody wants to party with a dude wearing a dildo on his head. Alternative costume idea: dress as Professor J. Michael Bailey. All this requires is making incendiary comments about the basis of homosexuality, violating numerous ethical standards about psychology research, and showing everybody you meet foot fetish videos.

AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

5. Amy Winehouse
For somebody who already looked like a cross between a zombified Helena Bonham Carter and a New Orleans streetwalker while she was living, Ms. Winehouse might not be the best choice for this Halloween. Something about “insensitivity” might come up throughout the course of the night. Unless, of course, you use her death from alcohol poisoning as a public service announcement about the danger of imbibing, in which case your costume might be ill-advised for other reasons.

4. Chet Haze
This might seem brilliant at first, but upon further examination, dressing up as a talentless self-obsessed douche might not be a great idea. Especially as the odds of both you and Chet wearing the same black dago-t to a party are much higher on Halloween.

3. The 1%
This one just hits a little close to home. Seeing as many Northwestern students actually occupy the 1%, it can be kind of hard to protest inequality at an elite institution. Besides, it’s much easier and enjoyable to occupy The Keg than it is to stand outside of Kellogg in the Chicago fall to protest the future I-bankers of America.

2. Herman Cain
Side-stepping the whole potential “blackface” thing, this costume would probably involve a “9-9-9” Plan (i.e. doing 9 shots, getting 9 orders of chicken fries from BK, and urinating on nine university buildings), wearing a Godfather’s Pizza box instead of pants, and running for positions you are under-qualified for.

Partner costume: Casey Anthony before and after

1. Casey Anthony
Tempting, but don’t. Just don’t.

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