New Orleans Saints Day

Who Dat?
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
Louisiana has always had more official holidays than any other state due to the Mardi Gras insanity of the early spring. Now we welcome another holiday into the fold. Monday, September 25th, is New Orleans Saints day as the Louisiana Superdome reopens to host Monday Night Football.

There has been a buzz about town all weekend as both Saints and Falcons fans have begun arriving in the Crescent City in anticipation of the Super Bowl-like event. Although New Orleans has hosted six Super Bowls in the Dome, many think this game is as close as the Saints will get for a while. Some businesses are closed for the day with most closing after lunch so that employees can join the festivities.

Today the buzz will build into a rumble as fans and ticketholders pack the Superdome and surrounding bars to experience the spectacle. The NFL Experience has been set-up at all four corners of the Superdome parking lot. Storyville, New Birth, Rebirth Brass Band, The Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day & U2 will all play pre-game show shows. Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas & Kermit Ruffins will sing the national anthem.

I'm too excited to work, but need to so that I can eject when the time is right and head downtown, ticket in hand, and live one of the best football experiences in the history of the game.


Would You Know Me Without This?

The accounting center drones in Canadia have been sending me threatening emails regarding the use of my Corporate American Express card. "Personal charges are strictly prohibited." "This card is property of the company and can be revoked." "We will come to your house and burn it down if you charge another month of NetFlix on your Corporate AmEx!"

All of the above is correct, except the obvious, and also happens to be a load of bullshit. While the card is "Corporate," the buck stops with you know who in that I alone am responsible for the bill. Uncle Cappy doesn't pay it. Just little old me, which in my book means that I should be able to charge a new Porsche on the damn thing if I so desire as long as I pay off the balance at the end of the month, ya dig?

However, I prefer to choose my spots for boat rocking and this ain't one of them. Six weeks ago I caved into the pressure and got my very own Personal AmEx. It's the first time in roughly seven years that I have had my own card. It's kind of exciting.

Now that I'm back on the road for work, which is a mixed blessing, I have been flipping the pages of various magazines that contain those silly AmEx ads featuring a fill-in the blank survey completed by some celebrity or person of note. (Yes, there is a difference.)

While not nearly as intriguing as some of the craptastic surveys floating around on MySpace these days, I decided to offer my own input to the AmEx survey if for no other reason than to make myself chuckle and kill the time between Larry Kellner's Gomer like speech before the Continental In-Flight Safety Briefing.

My name: is Inigo Montoya
childhood ambition: was to kill the six-fingered man
fondest memory: was killing the six-fingered man
soundtrack: is pretty cheesy like 80's soundtracks usually are
retreat: is anywhere Fezzik and I get drunk
wildest dream: was to kill the six-fingered man
proudest moment: was killing the six-fingered man
biggest challenge: was storming the castle
alarm clock: is The Brute Squad coming to pick-up Fezzik
perfect day: was storming the castle, saving Princess Buttercup and killing the six-fingered man
first job: was helping my dad make swords
indulgence: is getting drunk with Fezzik
last purchase: was the magic pill to revive Westley
favorite movie: what are movies?
inspiration: was anyone who'd ever killed a six-fingered man
My life: is about to kill really boring since I killed the six-fingered man, saved the Princess and helped restore order to the kingdom
My card: is in my pocket


Houston Man Cycling Across America

Today is Tuesday, but it has exhibited Monday-like qualities from the get go, which has been depressing. Let's not focus on that and instead divert our attention to something worth mentioning.

George, an executive at my company, has embarked on a cross country bicycle tour, in honor of his father, to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation as part of its Grassroots efforts. The trip is entitled "Tour de Isidro" and was launched on September 10th from St. Augustine, FL. Per the schedule listed on George's blog, the Tour will encompass "eight States, four mountain ranges, two deserts, and four time zones to cross the US from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific."

The effort is awe inspiring and plain old inspiring all around. I'm flabbergasted. People take time out to tend to sick relatives all of the time, but few undertake such a feat, particularly execs at
consulting firms...or maybe I'm just living under a rock.

Most folks might organize a bake sale or volunteer drive, but few go to this length to raise awareness. Per George, "There is an obligation owed to the cancer community to honor those that came before us by continuing the fight to rid our society of this disease and tirelessly persist until a cure is found."

To find out more about Geogre's progress, you can read his blog or check out his LAF Grassroots page.


Webster Gets Pinched

Apparently Webster couldn't make enough cash selling autographed George Papadapolis rookie cards on eBay so he had to resort to robbery. Oh, sorry, that's Maurice Clarett making headlines. What a moron.

It is a sad state of affairs that this talented kid has fallen from football greatness to another passing headline in the police blotter. I can't help but think that this is a result of many things, one of which is star status and some "above the law/rules" type treatment that these folks enjoy. Perhaps he could have avoided this by being permitted to go pro following his break out season. Perhaps the pressure placed on him was too great. Who knows?

At least after serving his time, Maurice can look forward to a career earning tens of dollars in the celebrity look-a-like industry impersonating Emmanuel Lewis.

* AP image pulled from CNNSI.com


Arrivando a Italia

Flying Bikes
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
I arrived in Milano dreary eyed and saggy tailed on Friday morning with a dozen hours separating me from the bus to the hotel in Verbania. I used the time to explore Milano a bit, meet up with Cris and get my Italian pimp phone turned on. I made it back to the airport just in time for my masterful plan to fall apart.

Woody and I originally planned to take the bus, the preferred and only convenient transportation, to Pallanza. MXP management threw a monkey wrench into the plan by shutting down a runway resulting in a two hour delay for arrivals which forced us to rent a car after having missed the bus.

We set off streaking down the road armed with an Avis map and a naive notion that we would be able to make it to Pallanza after a modest drive estimated at a 90 minute duration. Woody rode shotgun and spouted off directions while I piloted our low flying aircraft down the autostrade and tried to stay awake.

We should have realized that our touron cards were about to get stamped. Minimal Italian driving experience between us - mine consisting of driving with the aid of an Italian and a BMW navigation system - resulted in us not realizing that highway numbers listed on the map may not actually correspond to those listed on the road signs. In fact, many highways do not list highway numbers at all or only flash them every 25 kilometers.

The Griswold's Big Ben, Parliament routine ain't got nothing on us. Woody and I were baffled by a "missing" autostrade interchange and ended up going and coming from MXP three times before finally getting things right. We arrived in Pallanza three-and-a-half hours not knowing this would foreshadow most of our upcoming driving experiences.

Fortunately, check-in at Hotel Astor was a breeze, and we passed out for a nap before getting up way too soon.


The Knot is Tied

Your Turn
Originally uploaded by JaseMan.
As you may have gathered from my last blast, I traveled to Pallanza, Verbania, Italia to serve as the Master of Ceremony for Sean and Katey's wedding.

The bride and groom were joined by their immediate families and several dozen friends in this magnificent setting. So naturally, pictures and blackmail quality stories abound, but what you need to know is that the wedding was a success on all fronts.

I appreciate the time and effort that goes into a wedding that happens around the corner. Multiply the difficulty factor for that times 50 and you might start to get close to the challenges for a wedding in this locale. Flowers were done on the fly. The DJ was confirmed the day before. And, the padre didn't speak-uh da Engrish. But, all was well.

This was just a quick update. More on the trip and the driving adventure that is in progress when I return to the States.