Stories for March 2004


Wednesday, March 31

Friday Is Decision Day For Braves

Greenville, S.C., officials are expected to approve funding to building a new minor-league baseball stadium. But that might not be enough to keep the Braves Class AA team from moving to Pearl. The Atlanta Braves say they will announce the future home of their AA team on Friday.

Black-White Disparities Still Severe

AP reports: "Black Americans are less likely than white Americans to own homes, don't earn as much as whites, don't live as long, and don't do as well in school, according to a report by the National Urban League. The report, released on March 24, is a collection of survey data and essays by experts in race, social justice, health, psychology and civil rights. The most conspicuous differences it found were in the areas of home ownership and economic parity, with black earning power about 73 percent that of whites. 'The wealth gap is significant,' Urban League President Marc Morial said in an interview."

Tuesday, March 30

$141M bond bill for universities passes House committee

Andy Kanengiser of the CL reports: "A House committee today approved a $141 million bond bill for building projects at Mississippi universities, two-year colleges and state agencies. 'The needs are out there,' said House Speaker Pro Tempore J.P. Compretta, D-Bay St. Louis after the panel's voice vote. Compretta said the goal is to keep the building wish list below $200 million for 2004. 'This is the beginning of the process.' House Bill 1793 now goes to the full 122-member House Wednesday. The Senate is expected to consider its own higher education bond bill this afternoon."

Sunday, March 28

Soccer Night in Mississippi

More than 6,000 fans turned out in Ridgeland on Saturday night to see an MLS exhibtion game in which the Dallas Burn beat the Chicago Fire beat the Dallas Burn 1-0. A good time was had by all, even without a riot.

Dark Clouds Over Texas

Are you already depressed about the prospects for your favorite baseball team? Just remember, it could be worse. You could be a Texas Rangers fan.

Saturday, March 27

Get Your Kicks At Freedom Ridge

Doctor S has fallen down on this one, but if you hustle it's not too late for you to see a major league pro sports event right here in the Jackson area. The Chicago Fire (including Brandon's Justin Mapp) will play the Dallas Burn in an MLS exhibition game at Freedom Ridge Park in Ridgeland at 7:30 p.m. Go see some footy! Doctor S and his hooligan friends might even stage a riot to make the Euro players feel more at home.

Scooby-Do, How Do You Do It, Dog?

Doctor S wants to take a moment out from the pressing issues of the sports world to ask: How the hell did Scooby-Do become the most popular TV cartoon in history? Slate attempts to provide an answer.

Packin' Crime Stories for the C-L

Friday, March 26

Diamond Duds

It's almost time for the Major League Baseball season to begin. Several teams will be wearing new or modified uniforms. Is there a wardrobe malfunction in your favorite nine's future? Uniwatch dishes out the info and the critique.

On the Down Low

Considering that this is Mississippi, Councilman Bo Brown did a pretty gutsy thing at the Jackson City Council's March 16 meeting: He started a discussion about AIDS. Brown had perhaps not noticed that the numbers in the African-American community look bad until he took a trip to Washington with the council recently and was disturbed by some statistics he discovered. He was concerned, he said, about black women, who are the fastest-growing group among new AIDS cases. He explained that many of these women are infected because of "down low" behavior, a term that refers to the practice of (black) men having unprotected sex with other men and then having unprotected sex with their female partners, who are unaware of their male partners' activities.

[Jacktown] Acrimony and Outrage, by Alphonso Mayfield

If you haven't already gone to and read their two-part, in-depth interview with David Banner, read it! When you get there, you will find the self-proclaimed Mr. Mississippi going off on a number of subjects. This includes acrimony with his label and what seemed to be several thinly veiled disses of some former allies. In Part I, Banner says: "When I was underground, I was more or less alone. ...

[Drive] Revenge of the Minivans?

What is the deal with my life and minivans? All of a sudden I seem to find myself ensconced in the little buggers just a little more often than I care to admit. (Although the careful reader will note that I'm admitting it here in print.)

A Filmmaker in Movieland

What amazes me after having read "Scorsese on Scorsese" (Faber and Faber, revised 2003, $15) is how much divergent work this one great American director has been able to get done in Hollywood. It took this book, edited by Ian Christie and David Thompson, to really focus my attention on Martin Scorsese's career and put it in perspective—somehow, before reading this, I was sure that he was at least two different men. But it's true—the director of "Gangs of New York," "GoodFellas," and "Raging Bull" is the same man responsible for "The King of Comedy," "After Hours," "The Age of Innocence" and, yes, the "Last Temptation of Christ." The man whose fame arose in part from his collaborations with Robert DeNiro even directed "Cape Fear" and was offered, believe it or not, "Analyze This."(Good move turning that one down, Marty.)

A Wild Ride

Alan Huffman's "Mississippi in Africa" (Gotham Books, 2004, $27) is a remarkable book that will capture your imagination and ground you in reality. For anyone who has ever been haunted by the ruins of Windsor, or wandered through an ancient graveyard and thought," if only I knew the stories," this is the book for you. It seems that Huffman reveals a new ghost on every page, hiding behind Corinthian columns, lost in legal minutiae, a child killed in a legendary slave revolt, slaves choosing an uncertain and deadly future rather than remain enslaved.

[Crossroads] Cyber-Man

"No Maps for These Territories" is a fascinating glimpse into the philosophy and biography of William Gibson, the science-fiction writer best known for coining the phrase "cyberspace." Beyond that claim to fame, Gibson is a very real person and an entertaining one, with a charming self-deprecation and an interesting way of looking at the world.

Do the Strand

There are no movie theaters in Jackson anymore, at least not any that show actual movies on a regular basis. All the big first-run multiplexes sit amidst the sprawl outside the city limits (the Parkway Place in Flowood, to its credit, continues to make space for the Crossroad Film Festival), and in J-town proper a bargain store squats where the Deville Cinema used to be. Sure, you hear talk of bringing movies back to the old Capri (or The Pix, as they like to say in Fondren), and you can sometimes catch a film festival or other special-event showing at the Alamo on Farish Street, but one-time movie palaces like the Lamar and the Paramount aren't even left standing around downtown in hope of renewed interest.

Hello, Larry

Southern Miss made it official on Thursday, bringing Larry "Party All The Time" Eustachy out of exile to become the Golden Eagles' new men's basketball coach. In one sense, USM's hiring has worked already. There's a national buzz around the USM hoops program for the first time in, well, forever. Many said Eustachy would never coach again at a major college basketball program again. Maybe after he works at USM for a few seasons, he will be able to return to major college basketball.

No More Turkey Day Egg-citement

Yes, the rumors are true. The Mississippi State-Ole Miss game which had been a national TV fixture on Thanksgiving night (thanks to ESPN) for the last six years, will move back to Saturday in 2004. As long as the game is changing dates, howzabout somebody in Jackson putting together a package to entice the Rebels and Bulldogs to move The Battle For The Golden Egg back to Memorial Stadium, where it belongs.

Thursday, March 25

SEC pioneer hits the field

Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State's new head football coach, began his first spring practice with the Bulldogs on Wednesday.

Misused DHS funds investigated

Julie Goodman of the Clarion Ledger reports: "The state Department of Human Services is investigating whether millions of dollars in welfare money was used for such things as a down payment on a Jaguar and a trip to a Mediterranean country. The agency is looking into allegations contractors, such as day care providers, have improperly used funds, officials said. Investigators also are questioning whether portions of $89 million in 'rainy day' funds were mishandled between fiscal 2000 and 2002, DHS Executive Director Don Taylor said Wednesday. He could not say how much money might be involved."

The Un-Tuskegee Experiment

African Americans had every reason to join the Jackson Heart Study, and every reason not to participate. A landmark study of African Americans and heart disease, it is no ordinary research project. "The Jackson Heart Study is not business as usual," said Dr. Herman Taylor, director of the study. "We have the core research component, but then we have the educational component, and there is the community outreach component."

House bill added $184M to school funding

The Sun Herald reports: "The House's $2 billion K-12 spending bill, which passed by a 103-18 vote Tuesday, would fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, a formula established in 1997 to ensure equity in spending for students in poorer school districts, and fund the fourth year of a five-year teacher pay raise plan. The House plan spends $184 million more on K-12 education than the joint Legislative Budget Committee recommendation. But the House plan faces a long, hard fight with the Senate and Gov. Haley Barbour, who have called some of the figures House leaders use to fund education "funny money.'"

Rich Dog, Poor Dog

The world premiere of "Benji Returns: Rags to Riches" will be Thursday, March 25, at the Parkway Theater on Lakeland Drive. The black-tie event includes a silent auction, a meet-and-greet with Benji and Camp, and an advance viewing of the movie. Tickets are $100. The premiere is a dual benefit for the Mississippi Animal Rescue League and the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children. The film opens in local theaters March 26.

Nina Parikh

Nina Flaminiano Parikh isn't the sort of name you'd expect for the associate manager of the Mississippi Film Office, but that's what the 30-year-old answers to (even after April 10 when she says will also be honored to be called Mrs. Jerel Levanway). That exotic name fits her to a T. Her looks—her dad is Indian, and her mom is Filipino—might convince you she belongs in front of the camera, though.

Shakin' Loose

The newly created Sangha Theater Company performed "Shake Loose My Skin" at the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center on March 11-13 as its inaugural production. Named for the collection of poetry by Sonia Sanchez, the montage of dance, drama and song celebrated the women poets who taught America what it was to be black, bold and beautiful.

Organics, Revisited

In response to the problems occurring nationwide with mainstream produce or foods grown with pesticides, growth hormones or that have been genetically altered, people are increasingly turning to organic food. In 2000, Mississippi passed an organic farming law that placed very strict certification requirements on organic farming to ensure that organic food is, well, organic. But Rep. Rita Martinson, R-Madison, who is on the House Agriculture Committee, says that some of the restrictions were overkill. "It is important that we make it easier for these farmers to be able to grow their crops," she said.

All The Rage

So you want to be a pro basketball player? All of those YMCA warriors who insist "all I need is a shot to get in the NBA" will get a chance on April 10 when the city's new pro franchise, the Jackson Rage, holds a tryout from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at Millsaps College. For those more grounded in reality, their first exposure to the Rage will be on May 15, when the team plays the Chattanooga Majic at 7 p.m. The team will play all 10 of its home games at Jackson State's Williams Athletics and Assembly Center.


The Best in Sports in the Next 14 Days

College baseball, Mississippi State at LSU (620 AM) and Ole Miss at Alabama (97.3 FM), 6:30 p.m.: The two schools open three-game series against SEC West rivals.

Wednesday, March 24

Eustachy A Natural For USM

Bonus: Larry rates the party schools.

Larry Eustachy, the former Iowa State basketball coach best know for his affinity for college coeds and Natural Light beer, is expected to named coach at Southern Miss on Friday, the Biloxi and Jackson newspapers reported on their Web sites Thursday night.

[Fleming] A Come to Jesus Meeting

Where were you at 4:30 p.m. on March 18, 2004? I know where I was. I was sitting at my desk in the House Chamber, listening to Rep. Willie Bailey, D-Greenville, rail against a bill, House Bill 1435 to be exact. My colleague, Rep. Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, had introduced 1435 to make sure that affidavit ballots were counted in a election by making them, essentially, same-day voter registration forms. Sounds like a good idea, right?

[Stiggers] Tale of Two Criminals

From the producers of the Sci-Fi horror film "Very High Unemployment in America" ... This is a story about two women who escaped their wrong decisions. Martha was a rich, powerful, intelligent and popular celebrity who owned her own corporation. Bone-Qweesha was an aspiring hair stylist and on-the-scene reporter who worked three jobs just to make ends meet for herself and her son Junior. These women seemed to live productive lives until they made the wrong decisions.

That Old-Time ‘Southern Strategy'

Jack Bass writes for Salon: "The recent recess appointments by President George W. Bush of two controversial Deep South Republicans to federal courts of appeals indicates that the Republican 'Southern strategy' remains alive and well. Much of the Democratic opposition in the Senate to confirming Charles W. Pickering of Mississippi and William H. Pryor of Alabama focused on matters suggesting insensitivity to civil rights issues. Opponents cited the records of both men that included criticism of or efforts to limit important remedies or provisions of the Voting Rights Act."

Medicare In Trouble, Thanks to Health Costs and New Medicare Law

Let me guess: federal tort reform is the cure-all? NY Times reports: "Medicare's financial condition has significantly deteriorated, partly because of exploding health costs and partly because of the new Medicare law, the government reported on Tuesday. In its annual report to Congress, the Medicare board of trustees said the program's hospital insurance trust fund could run out of money before the end of the next decade. The trustees have made such projections in the past, but this one was much bleaker than the outlook reported just last year.

Bush Facing Dreary Jobs Data in Michigan

AP reports: "Allies of Democrat John Kerry in this down-on-its-luck industrial state are armed with depressing statistics on unemployment and poverty, hoping to persuade voters to blame President Bush for the hit on their pocketbooks. In Michigan, 6.6 percent of workers are unemployed, with the strain sharpest in communities that have suffered plant closings and manufacturing cutbacks as jobs moved overseas. There is widespread anger, spreading into conservative areas, that Bush is not doing enough to keep those jobs at home or help the poor."

Grand Plan or Grand Goof?

<b>Opposition to Nuclear Reactor Builds</b>

Entergy has applied for a permit that could increase employment in the Claiborne County area by about 300 individuals. The same permit could possibly increase the $600,000 already allotted to the town of Port Gibson by a few more than six figures—welcome money for any municipality trying to eke out a budget and improve its economy in cash-strapped Mississippi. Oddly, some residents don't seem to want it.

The Pearl Braves?

Greenville (S.C.) Mayor Knox White says the G-Braves are in play, and that a suburban Mississippi city has an offer on the table to lure the AA franchise from Greenville.

Sunday, March 21

‘Black Females Are Valued By No One'

The Village Voice reports on a new study of the attitudes of the "hip-hop generation." Thulani Davis writes: "In reality, the teens interviewed—between 16 and 20 years old—are probably children of the first hip-hop generation (usually considered people born between 1965 and 1980). The subjects of this study, then, have been raised during the rise of this influential culture and may reflect the long-term effects of the devastation of black communities following the civil rights and black-power movements. The most telling attitudinal change from the 'movement' years is the absence of any influence of feminism and the open disdain for black women. As the authors put it, 'Black females are valued by no one.' The study's glossary includes six nouns used to describe males: Dog, homeboy, playa, lame, sugar daddy, and payload, another word for sugar daddy. For women, there are at least 15, none good: Block bender, woo-wop, flip-flop, skeezer, 'hood rat, 'ho, and trick all mean promiscuous female. In addition, there are freak, bitch, gold digger, hoochie mama, runner, flipper, shorty, and the more ambiguous wifey. Young women in the interviews also use some of these terms."

Saturday, March 20

[Crossroads] Beah Speaks

Just as it was in every scene she ever played, Beah Richards' presence is commanding and unforgettable in "Beah: A Black Woman Speaks," a documentary about one of the finest actresses of her generation. It will screen April 1 at the Crossroads Film Festival.

[Crossroads] Two African Spirits

"Beah: A Black Woman Speaks" is a gift from Beah Richards and LisaGay Hamilton that has the power to change anybody who has the courage to let it. The two women fatefully came together when they were both at a crossroads in their lives. Richards was dealing with her mortality as emphysema was proving to be the only battle of her life that she would lose. And Hamilton was going through her own personal changes.

Friday, March 19

NY Times Examines Barbour Role in Energy Policy

In a long piece Sunday, The New York Times examined Haley Barbour's role in Bush energy/environmental policies: "Just six weeks into the Bush administration, Haley Barbour, a former Republican party chairman who was a lobbyist for electric power companies, sent a memorandum to Vice President Dick Cheney laying down a challenge. 'The question is whether environmental policy still prevails over energy policy with Bush-Cheney, as it did with Clinton-Gore,' Mr. Barbour wrote, and called for measures to show that environmental concerns would no longer 'trump good energy policy.'"

Thursday, March 18

Soothing Answers to Burning Questions

How did the NCAA basketball tournament come to be called March Madness? How did the Final Four get its name? Slate supplies the answers. Meanwhile, Doctor S could have told you not to pick Florida if you had only asked.

Another Group of Bulldog Basketball Heroes

The Mississippi State basketball team is in the headlines as the Bulldogs play in the NCAA tournament. On March 24, Mississippi Public Broadcasting will air "One Night in March," a documentary on the 1963 MSU team that literally had to sneak out of the state to play in the NCAA tournament. Why? Because the Maroons defied the state's unwritten law against participating in integrated sporting events.

Wednesday, March 17

[Ladd] One for the Grrls

I was recently visiting a couple in Fondren who have two delightful little daughters with whom I love to hang out. They're loud, proud, colorful, confident. The oldest came up to me and told me about the bedtime story her dad had been reading her about a bored princess who didn't want to take her prim princess lessons and preferred to go live with the dragons and have adventures. After telling me the story in some detail, my little 5-year-old girlfriend, the most chic little thing I know, looked at me and said, "You can borrow the book sometimes if you want."

Not Separate, Still Unequal

<b>Part I: Filling the Gap</b>

What Hinds County Citizens for Public Education and Hinds County School District Superintendent Phyfa Eiland say they want for the children of the Hinds County School District are so close that it might at first glance be difficult to understand why the citizens' group is boycotting the district and demanding that Eiland step down. Until you look closer, and listen more carefully, and you see that the same issue that has complicated public education since 1865, and ripped the country apart in 1954 during the Brown vs. Board of Education case, is also center stage here: Race. Except that now this country's most volatile, problematic issue is no longer black and white.

Kerry Heralds Education and Good Deeds in Jackson

"Mr. Kerry, Please help save our democracy. Equal Rights for all!" In a sea of "Kerry for President" signs, these words were written on a homemade sign held up in the far back of the gym at Tougaloo College on Sunday, March 7. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee visited the campus as a part of a weekend political swing through Mississippi just two days before his party's primary here. Earlier in the day, he had visited the Greater Bethlehem Temple Pentecostal Church of the Apostolic Faith on Robinson Street, where he read from the Book of James about the need to shore up "important words," such as "compassionate conservatism," by actually doing good deeds: "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?" he quoted from the Bible.

Executioner's Blues, by Scott Barretta

March 10, 2004—Steve Earle, who performed at an anti-death penalty benefit at Hal and Mal's on Friday, March 12, stirred up controversy in the country-music world in 2002 with his "John Walker's Blues," sung from the perspective of the infamous "Taliban American." Replete with Arabic chanting and references to America as "the land of the infidel," the song was widely misconstrued as unpatriotic or even sympathetic to the Taliban.

Tuesday, March 16

50 Cent Slams Gay Men; Says Lesbians ‘Cool'

MTV News reports: "In a wide-ranging interview with Playboy magazine, 50 Cent has let his feelings on homosexuality be known, in language sure to draw the ire of gay-rights supporters. 'I ain't into f----ts,' 50 says in an interview in the April issue of Playboy, which hits stands Friday. 'I don't like gay people around me, because I'm not comfortable with what their thoughts are. I'm not prejudiced. I just don't go with gay people and kick it – we don't have that much in common. I'd rather hang out with a straight dude. But women who like women, that's cool.'"

Why Young Blacks Should Vote

Black America Web reports: "With the 2004 presidential election just eight months away and important political issues at stake, many are wondering why young blacks between the ages of 18 and 24 are less likely to get out and vote. Most of these young voters, political experts said, feel disconnected to the candidates and the issues surrounding this election. But a recent study conducted by Northeastern University Center for Labor Market Studies reported extremely high unemployment among young black men. That and higher tuition costs are two good reasons for this group to get out and vote in the upcoming election, observers said. The report stated that 'one out of every four African-American youth and one out of every five Latino youth between the ages of 16 and 24 are out-of-school, jobless and on the streets.'"

House clears bills to limit abortions

Emily Wagster Pettus of the AP reports today:"Abortion-rights supporters say opponents tried in roundabout ways to limit women's access to a legal medical procedure with three bills that cleared the Mississippi House Monday. Rep. Ed Blackmon, D-Canton, said mandating the reporting of complications is intended to discourage doctors from performing abortions and women from having the procedures. 'Women find themselves in this position. Men do not. And most of the people voting on this are men," Blackmon said. "We can stand up and ... shout to the top of the Capitol about how righteous we are, and not one of us as men is ever going to have to make that decision.'"

[Spann] The Power of ‘Passion'

A year or so ago, a young man visiting my Wednesday night Bible study class relayed his encounter with a non-Christian who questioned how Christianity could be a monotheistic faith yet have a God who describes himself as three beings: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. "He explained to me that 1 + 1 + 1 = 3, not 1," said the young man. "I had to admit that he was both clever and correct, but then shared with him that 1 x 1 x 1 = 1."

Monday, March 15

Kerry, Dems to Campaign in Mississippi

I'm happy to see the national Democratic Party taking Mississippi seriously. It's so insulting when national media, politicos or anyone else assume that all of our minds are already made up, or that we all think and vote alike (Barbour won just 52 percent of the vote in November, after all, and in an election where many people thought the candidates were near just alike; imagine the possibilities if voters believe they have a real choice). And those assumptions are self-perpetuating. The Clarion-Ledger reports: "With Mississippi's primary over, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's campaign is mobilizing in the state. The senator does not necessarily need the South to win, however. Nor is it likely he will see any of Mississippi's six electoral votes from a state that has not voted for a Democratic president since Jimmy Carter in 1976. But Democrats here say Kerry's campaign, if nothing else, will be an opportunity to strengthen their party in the state and promote their philosophies in the months leading to Election Day on Nov. 2."

[Ask JoAnne] No License, Little Equipment

Q. I watched the "short-necked clam battle" the other night on Food Network, and one or two of the dishes they cooked up looked pretty good, and I thought I would invite a few friends over and prepare my own short-necked clam dishes, but I can't seem to find any available around here. The lady at the Winn-Dixie seafood shop didn't know what I was talking about and went so far as to say I was crazy for asking. Bruno's has closed, and I was thrown out of the Waffle House when I asked what short-necked clam dishes they had on their menu. JoAnne, just what the heck is a short-necked clam, and where do I have to go to buy some? I want to be able to say, "the short-necked clam battle is over!" in my own kitchen. Thank you for your time.

Sunday, March 14

Bust Out Those Brackets

The NCAA Tournament field is set. As happens every year, millions of Americans will break the law during the next two weeks by participating in illegal office pools. (Hey, we need one of those at the JFP Tower.) Mississippi State got a No. 2 seed after its flameout in the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs are headed for Orlando, where they will play Monmouth on Friday night. On the women's side, Ole Miss got an NCAA berth, too, for the first time since 1966. The 10th-seeded Rebelettes are headed for Ames, Iowa, where they will play Villanova on Sunday.

Friday, March 12


If y'all heard squeals of delight in the distance over the last 24 hours, it's because the JFP's Ayana Taylor learned that she was accepted to the Academy for Alternative Journalism this summer at Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern in Chicago. This is a HUGE deal, as they only accept 10 applicants a year. We're so proud of Ayana; first she won the AAN diversity grant, and now this. Please congratulate her the next time you see her out and about; she is going to go very far in this business. We can all say we knew her when. Read about the Academy:

[Mimi] Hurl Rice, Not Brimstone

One day a guy wakes up and says, "You know what, today I am deciding to be gay. It will be so much fun. I'll tell my parents so they will shut me out of their lives and take away their financial support. Then the kids at school can beat me daily and scrawl death threats on my locker. And when I get older, I can look forward to an ostracized life from family, friends and church. Then there is job discrimination to contend with, unless I land that part on 'Will and Grace' or join the 'Queer Eye' guys, which kind of narrows my stereotypical career choices. And if I'm lucky enough to find love, I may be harassed on the street and in public places for expressing that love with the simple gesture of holding a hand."

[Arts] Viva La Revolution!

I moved to Belhaven a little over three years ago from The Country Club neighborhoods of Northeast Jackson. I had discovered the unique and somehow unknown appeal of downtown a little over a year before I graduated high school. I was fascinated with everything that Belhaven and Fondren offered. I dove headfirst into Jackson. I think most people would agree with me when I say that Jackson is sort of ass-backward.Anyone who has moved here from a larger city understands what I'm saying.We have the capacity, the venues, and, on top of all of that, we have a huge untapped creative talent.What we have lacked, my friends, is the motivation to do anything with it, even as we complain incessantly about having nothing to do in Jackson.

Thursday, March 11

[Appetite] Men: The Joy of the Hunt

T he seeking of a mate seems a daunting task, but it does not have to be. All that is required is an open mind and a hearty, insatiable appetite. Approach men as if they are items on a vast buffet. The idea is to sample as many items as possible without making yourself sick. You will find that, as in food, taste varies from woman to woman. There are multitudes of options available. The choices range from a basic peach tart (a simple sweet man) to chicken parmesan (complex and heavy). Sometimes all you want is a donut (tastes great with no nutritional value). There are also the more exotic flavors like arugula (nutty with a bitter aftertaste) and chili peppers (hot, hot, hot).

Optimisme Bienvenu

I admit it: I'm a snob. I can hear the slightly superior voice in my head: "One really should see works in their true context to fully understand them. One really should travel." (Funny how that voice always begins sentences with the word "One.") Traveling exhibits of precious objects and art always remind me of the hapless polar bear who found himself in the hot, humid Jackson Zoo: As a child, I was fascinated and drawn to him out of his sheer improbability, yet also miserable on his behalf.

‘I Usually Do Win'

Margaret Wodetzki figures she's run in close to 300 races. Winner of the Women's Senior Masters trophy in the 2004 Vicksburg Run Through History—that daunting 10K dash through the Hilly City's National Military Park—Wodetzki didn't even take up running until she was in her early 50s. Now 72, the retired Jackson State chemistry professor (who serves as the volunteer coordinator for Race for the Cure, which raises money to help fight breast cancer) recently finished fifth in the 5k at the National Senior Olympics.

The best in sports in the next 14 days

College basketball, Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt, 6:30 p.m., Ch. 12 and WFMN (97.3): The Rebels meet the Commodores in the first round of the SEC Tournament at Atlanta. The winner plays Mississippi State on Friday at 6:30 p.m. … Also, high school basketball, MHSAA Boys and Girls State Tournament (MPB): In the 2A girls final, Coldwater plays Bay Springs at 6:30 p.m. And in the 2A boys title tilt, it's Heidelberg vs. Hollandale Simmons at 8 p.m.

E-mail from Howard Dean

This went to his mailing list just now: "John Kerry and I had a very good meeting yesterday. During the campaign we often focused on what divided us, but the truth is we have much more in common beginning with our fervent desire to send George Bush back to Crawford, Texas in November. The future of our country depends on this.

March Misery

Southern Miss' miserable basketball season is finally over. The Golden Eagles lost to Saint Louis 62-56 Wednesday night in the first round of the CUSA tournament.

How The Zebra Got His Stripes

Uniwatch offers something unusual: The evolution of the referee's uniform. The story is told with rare photos and the usual bitchy fashion criticism.

Wednesday, March 10

Jill Conner Browne

Mississippians are so used to being on the bottom that, without provocation, we'll take aim at our own feet and fire at will just to prove we can blow a damned toe off. That's my thought whenever I hear someone whine about how Mal's St. Paddy's Parade has gotten "too big," or balk at joining the thousands of tiara-ed and sequined "wannabes" who drive, fly and hitchhike into Jackson every March to eat, drink and be friggin' merry enough to last another 11 months or so. It is unfathomable to me that a single Jacksonian would take for granted what Jill Conner Browne has done for this city and its residents.

[Cohen] Never Mind All That

It's official. The decision was made some two and a half years ago, but the first airings of the Bush campaign's television ads brought the strategy fully into play. The horrible events of Sept. 11, 2001 will be a central issue in the campaign to elect George W. Bush. The outcry from victims' families was fierce and immediate. Across party lines they saw the ads for what they were, a crass and opportunistic run on the deaths of their loved ones. Good for them. Monica Gabrielle, one of thousands of 9/11 widows, put it this way: "It's a slap in the face of the murders of 3,000 people. It is unconscionable." My sentiments exactly, Mrs. Gabrielle.

[Stiggers] Aunt Willa-Mae's X-Cubed Corn Whiskey

The following is an important message from Pookie Peterz of Hustlers International Inc.

[City Buzz] Rules Are Made to Be Busted

DON'T LIKE THE RULES? CHANGE 'EM: Democrats in the Mississippi House succeeded in passing a rules change on Wednesday, March 3, 2004, that they will likely use to block some controversial legislation. The rules change now requires a 2/3 "supermajority" vote to get bills out of committee instead of a simple majority; it's expected that such a supermajority will not be possible when it comes to legislation such as Voter ID and tort reform, which have tended toward party-line votes. If the bills can't be voted out of committee, they can die there without reaching the House floor. …

Rainbow Coalition

The excitement was palpable in the rotunda of the state Capitol on March 2 when a diverse team of city and state leaders showed up at a historic rally to encourage the state Legislature to clear the way for Jackson to build a 125,000 square-foot convention center. The project's supporters have drafted legislation that would allow Jackson to ask residents to approve a 1-cent local option sales tax for the $100 million project.

Women At Risk

For the first time, women might be dying from heart disease at higher rates than men. Preliminary data gathered in 2001 indicates a new trend in heart disease among a group of black women in Mississippi. "We think these findings are very dramatic," said Dr. Herman Taylor, director of the Jackson Heart Study. Dramatic because 30 years ago, heart disease was considered a man's disease, and even though heart disease is now the leading killer of women—more than 32 percent of them each year—their death rates have significantly trailed men's. That might be changing.

Bill Minor: Barbour's Nephew Lobbyist Raising Ire

Mr Minor writes: "Henry Barbour, the nephew who managed Gov. Haley Barbour's recent gubernatorial campaign, and his brother, Austin, have hooked up with Capitol Resources — an influential legislative lobbying group with a number of big corporate, gaming and oil clients. Capitol Resources, headed by two top lobbyists, Clare Hester and John Lundy, lists among its clients Kerr-McGee Corp., Lorillard Tobacco, Northrup Grumman Ship Systems and even the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. What especially got the effusive Holland's attention were quotes from one of the Barbour nephews that 'we're going to assist ... Republican candidates in raising money both nationally and at the state level.'"

Conservative LeSueur wins Primary

Clarion-Ledger reports:Clinton LeSueur trounced his opponents Tuesday in the 2nd Congressional District Republican primary, leaving him now to decide what campaign strategy to use against Democratic incumbent Bennie Thompson in the fall. ... LeSueur, of Greenville, will face Thompson in November for a second time. He won 44 percent of the vote against the congressman two years ago. He says he will hit the campaign trail promoting his conservative beliefs, including his objection to gay marriage. 'The people haven't seen anything yet. You're going to see a real campaign this round and we're definitely going to do double, if not more than what we did in 2002,' said LeSueur, 35, who has worked to put more male teachers in the classroom."

Thug Life On Ice

Vancouver Canucks goon Todd Bertuzzi is facing a lengthy suspension and possible criminal charges for his cheap shot on Colorado Avalanche forward Steven Moore that left Moore with a broken neck and a concussion. This comes on the heels of last week's Ottawa/Philadelphia fight (which was interrupted by brief interludes of hockey). Is this supposed to convince Doctor S to watch more NHL? Mission accomplished.

SEC's Top Dogs

Mississippi dominates the AP All-SEC team. Mississippi State's Lawrence Roberts (the Player of the Year) and Timmy Bowers head the team. Jackson's own Justin Reed, of Ole Miss, is also a first-teamer. And Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury is the league's coach of the year.

One Way To Break Into NASCAR

Florida police say an 18-year-old man stole a luxury car with the keys left in the ignition, drove it to Homestead-Miami Speedway, barrelled past security guards who tried to flag him down, ripped through the closed gates and took several laps around the track, the Miami Herald reports.

Monday, March 8

Praise the Lord, and Pass the Grits, by Lynette Hanson

Feb. 26, 2004—Harmony can mean many things, not just musical ones, either. For instance, the harmony between grits—that wonderful Southern breakfast side dish—and other scrumptious morsels like hot buttered biscuits, fluffy scrambled eggs, and maybe some thick, barely browned potatoes can make one want to burst into song, harmonious or otherwise, at the perfect combination of tastes and textures.

Happy MSU, Sad USM

In one of the greatest college basketball games Doctor S has witnessed, Mississippi State rallied from an 18-point deficit in the second half and beat Alabama 82-81 on Saturday. The Bulldogs won their first outright SEC title since 1963 and, probably, locked up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But before the NCAA begins, there's the matter of the SEC Tournament, which starts on Thursday in Atlanta. The Bulldogs play on Friday against the winner of Thursday's Ole Miss-Vandy game.

Saturday, March 6

DHS shuts down centers

Pamela Berry of the Clarion Ledger writes: "By month's end, 34 family resource centers will close and more than 100 Mississippi families will be stripped of their child-care assistance in an effort to balance the state's Department of Human Services' budget."

Friday, March 5

[Lott] Protecting Forests

Recently passed by the Senate thanks to the strong leadership of Senator Thad Cochran and supported by President Bush, the Healthy Forest Restoration Act will be a major benefit in states like Mississippi where forests cover 60 percent of our state, account for 10 percent of all jobs and consistently compete with poultry as the state's number one agricultural product. This act will use sensible measures to ensure that wildfires like those which scorched California last year will not harm Mississippi's wildlife or human life.

Tuesday, March 2

JFP Blog Traffic Keeps Growing

JFP on the move!

Monday, March 1

‘American Astronaut'

Scattered across the desolate solar system exist the bleary-eyed mining men of Jupiter who know nothing of women and the sexually frustrated, all-female (Southern Belle no less) population of Venus. The surrealist noir B-movie landscape of a 1950s-style, campy black-and-white sci-fi odyssey "The American Astronaut" will be presented by director Cory McAbee—who also stars in, scored and wrote the film that began six years ago at a Sundance Writer's Lab workshop.

[Crossroads] Let the Music Play

Let's say you're like me—cannot play any musical instrument and can't, as the saying goes, "Carry a tune in a bucket." But, like me, you can be a curious consumer of all types of music. Most important, whether you're like me or not, three of the Crossroads Film Festival's documentaries are finely wrought pieces for your enjoyment and edification.

South by Northeast

On the one hand, you've got your Mexican food, and on the other hand, you've got your Asian food. Difficult decision? Not when someone else prepares it, serves it and cleans up afterwards. Be sure to tip generously is all I can thankfully say.

[Featured Blog] On Bush's Gay Marriage War

In Salon today: :On the first day of his reelection campaign, George W. Bush attacked Sen. John Kerry as an equivocating wimp from Massachusetts. On the second day, the president announced his support for a constitutional amendment that would prevent "judges in Boston" from forcing gay marriage on Americans everywhere. With Super Tuesday still a few days away, the Bush-Kerry race has officially begun. And if Bush and White House strategist Karl Rove and their allies on the religious right have their way, gay marriage will be the ugly centerpiece of the coming campaign. "