Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Brief Blogged Brainstorms

Just a few random thoughts not developed enough to be self-standing blog entries, all brought to you by the letter "B"

Born to be Wild

I was listening to the Steppenwolf song "Born to be Wild", and I couldn't help but reflect on how, while in my twenties, I used to listen to that tune while wearing jeans, boots, and a leather jacket while tooling down the highway alone on my motorcycle. Now that I'm in my forties, I'm listening to the same song in cargo pants, sandals, and a golf shirt driving to the grocery store with the family in my minivan. I'm not sure whether this is horrifying, funny, or both.

Banana Tree

Having grown up in cold, snowy Ohio, the thought of having a banana tree in my back yard is intriguing in theory. However, in practice, even in sunny Louisiana, I'm not so sure.

I had no idea there was a banana tree back there, but somehow, it grew up without my knowing about it. It's now about seven feet high, and it blocks my ability to walk behind the shed where I have some things stored. It's more of a nuisance than anything else. I'll probably chop it down. I guess some things are better in abstracto.

Bridging the Gap

Until this past spring, I used to live in Kenner and commuted to Gretna every day (a 17 mile commute each way in heavy traffic). The trek was almost entirely on I-10 and involved the crossing of a large toll bridge (the Crescent City Connection). The bridge spans the Mississippi River, and the two sections it connects are north and south of each other - though we refer to the two regions as the East Bank and the West Bank. The main part of New Orleans (as well as a hunk of suburban Jefferson Parish) is on the East (that is, the North) Bank, while the Algiers section of New Orleans (as well as another hunk of Jefferson Parish) is on the West (that is, the South) Bank. The cardinal points of the compass are irrelevant in our region. The degree of deviation from the meridian of the magnetic North Pole is just not as useful in matters of direction to West Bankers as, say the proximity to Sal's Seafood or in the direction of the Harvey Canal.

Since that time, I have become a West Banker myself. I live in Gretna, just a five minute drive from the bridge. Now, crossing to the East Bank seems almost exotic. Psychologically, it feels like an 8-hour drive with an international border. The Crescent City Connection now has the feel of a bridge connecting Canada to the U.S. - I almost expect to see a customs station set up at the end of the crossing. There is a cultural difference between the banks as well.

These days, Mrs. Hollywood and I would rather drive a longer distance and remain on the West Bank than to take a shorter journey that involves crossing the bridge. I'm sure there is a name for this, as well as a good reason for it. Maybe someone can enlighten me.


It's really a good thing that women have been "liberated" from being barefoot and pregnant, with men holding doors open for them, putting them on a pedestal, using respectful language in their presence, and treating them with chivalry. We're so much better these days. Equality and all that.

On I-20 near Shreveport (just after crossing into Louisiana from Texas), there are a slew of billboards advertising the local casinos. One of them features a rather scantily clad blonde with the words: "100's of Loose Slots."

We're so much better now.

In a similar theme of feminine liberation, there was an ad for soft drinks at a gas station in one of our more rural areas here in the Bible Belt that had a cartoon of a woman saying: "Nice cans, and they're all natural" or something to that effect.

The forces of feminism must be so pleased with themselves. Women are no longer seen as people worthy of respect, but are now life support systems for "cans" and "loose slots." I'm finding this cultural shift to have a tremendous effect on my middle school boys and girls.

Way to go, "womyn!" You've come a long way, baby. Ms. Magazine must be thrilled. Thanks, gals!

1 comment:

Rosko said...

The reason you don't want to leave the West Bank is the same reason I didn't (unless by Ferry into Da Quah-ta). It's called the Best Bank because that's what it is!

Having grown up Uptown, and spending time in Slidell, I truly enjoy the fact that for a while I lived on the Wank.

As for having a name for this syndrome, I'm not sure. It's just the Best Bank mentality.