Monday, July 25, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ignored on the Internet

For the past 3 months I have been doing 2 jobs for the company who pays my salary:
- my regular job, in which I wear no less than 4 hats on any given day
- and project lead for an activity, now completed, that has locked in half a million dollars in savings annually.
(I work for a really big company)

Anyone who is a mom, knows that you never stop being a mom, no matter how crazy the rest of your life gets.   Managing a household doesn't go away either unless you are willing to live in squalor; I'm not. As a postKatrina neighborhood leader, there are times when it feels like I'm working at this and the response time and dedication to neighborhood issues needs to be as good as what the people who pay me get. It can't be or I wouldn't have a job.

Why do I post this?   Because posts to this blog, to the neighborhood blog, and responses to email other than those at work have been sporadic at best.  And because I read an article in the newspaper today, over a cup of coffee and my quiche made by my own hands, about how not responding to "the ether" that is eMail is potentially rude.

The article quotes another author saying: "the No. 1 complaint is that 'people feel they’re being ignored.' "

And I can respect that.  I have 4 eMail accounts that I manage: the one a work, my own personal "Nola as mom" email account, the one for the neighborhood organization (and thankfully I have help here), and my email account as a Strega.  Sometimes the last 2 don't get as much attention.  Is that rude? I can see how those who only communicate with one aspect of "me" might think so.  But it's not rude; it's the physical limitations of being human and not virtual or electronic.  There is only so much "resource sharing" a human can do. It's not that I don't love you... it is just that there is only so much of any one person to go around. And the eMail associated with work and the capacity to get a pay check will *always* win.  Is this an excuse? No, as a trained scientist I can say, this is supporting data for the effect noticed.

My beef with the author is that he mixes professional-they are paying you-eMail with personal.  It is so NOT the same.  Like it or not eMail as work is a tool. When responses are required there is no excuse. And if you can't get to the task or need more time then the *only* professional thing to do is reply with *when* you will be able t o accomplish what the email has requested. And for inside the company mail, there is always the "return receipt" option if it is really, really important.

I think the real reason that people don't respond as fast as some would like is that we are overwhelmed with communication: Voice mail messages on office phone, on cell phone, on home phone; Multiple email addresses (by necessity); And then there is texting... and facebook and now Google+. Overload doesn't begin to describe...  It seems the people who are most likely to be annoyed are those individuals who have one life, one job, one, for lack of a better word, "identity".  Those of us who have more facets to our lives have it harder and this can manifest itself as non-responsive. 

The only other option is to constantly have you face in your smartphone and respond to all the electronic communications and tune out face to face communications.  You tell me... which is "more rude"?

You could be Basque?

Bruce Eggler article from New Orleans Times Picayune
Few New Orleanians would identify themselves as of Basque heritage, but according to one of them, that's only because they're unaware of their families' origins a few centuries ago.
Michel-Antoine Goitia-Nicolas was photographed in 2003, with a Basque flag and coat of arms.
From Abadie and Alciatore to Yzaguirre and Zatarain, says Michel-Antoine Goitia-Nicolas, dozens of longtime local families can trace their origins back to the Basque region that straddles the border between France and Spain. Most of them, he says, are aware only that their ancestors emigrated from France or Spain, not of their exact ethnic background. But, he says, whether Barbe or Begue, Chachere or Charbonnet, Gayarre or Goyeneche, Lacombe or Lemoyne, Mandeville or Marigny, Sapir or Soraparu -- all have Basque origins.

Goitia-Nicolas, 46, who was born in Canada and has lived in New Orleans since 1984, founded a nonprofit group, the Louisiana Basque-American Society and Cultural Organization, or LABASCO, in 2003 to promote awareness of the state's Basque heritage. He has ambitious plans for the group, though so far its list of accomplishments is confined mainly to numerous speeches Goitia-Nicolas has given around Louisiana and the Gulf Coast to raise awareness of Basque history and local families' connection to the region.

The group will hold a dinner meeting today from 5 to 8 p.m. at Galvez Restaurant in the French Quarter. Goitia-Nicolas will speak on Basque history in Louisiana and announce a fund to raise a monument to Jean Lafitte and other local Basque worthies.

Lafitte -- or Laffite, as he spelled it -- is remembered by most as a successful pirate or privateer and smuggler who operated out of Barataria Bay and New Orleans and helped Gen. Andrew Jackson defend the city from British invasion in 1814-15. Goitia-Nicolas, however, refers to him as a "man of mark," as in "letter of marque and reprisal," an official government licence authorizing a private vessel to attack and capture enemy vessels.

Why July 23, and why Galvez Restaurant for the dinner? Because, Goitia-Nicolas said this week, this is the birthday of Bernardo de Galvez, the Spanish military leader who served as governor of Louisiana from 1777 to 1785. Himself of Basque descent, Galvez "brought both Cajuns and Islenos to Louisiana," and both groups contained large numbers of people with Basque heritage, according to Goitia-Nicolas.

The easiest way to recognize a family's Basque origins, Goitia-Nicolas said, is by a name that means nothing in French or Spanish but shows origins in the Basque tongue, which is unrelated to any other language. "Garcia," he said, is automatically considered a Spanish name, but it really means "wheatfield" in Basque. "Lafitte," he said, is Basque for "blackberry."

Because his family spoke Basque, Goitia-Nicolas said, he quickly recognized names such as "Soraparu" and "Zatarain" on street signs and grocery shelves when he arrived in New Orleans, and he realized the city had a strong Basque connection he had not suspected. He began studying records of immigration to New Orleans in the 1700s and 1800s. Even before the city was founded in 1718, he said, most of the early Spanish and French explorers and colonizers in Louisiana were Basques.
Goitia-Nicolas' said LABASCO's other goals include publishing a book about Basques' role in Louisiana history, establishing a Basque cultural center and creating an endowment to promote awareness of the state's Basque heritage. He said the center and endowment could appropriately be based at either Loyola or Tulane universities -- both, he said, named for people from Basque families.
Goitia-Nicolas said he had about 30 reservations for tonight's dinner but was hoping for many more.

The price is $50. Reservations can be made at 504.595.3400. The restaurant is at 914 N. Peters St.
Goitia-Nicolas can be reached at

Friday, July 22, 2011

Full Moon Effects

Listen to this article on PRI's The World about how the Moon impacts life on earth.

It's specifically talking about lion attacks and how the waning moon makes for a greater chance of lions being hungry and attacking people as they look for other prey.

The article says that people are safer when the Moon is full.
And most dangerous when the moon is waning.

Now think about how the moon affected our ancestors and therefore our practices.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Don Quixote - Barataria

Re: "Did Don Quixote inspire Barataria name?" Your Opinions, July 8.
Records show that early French colonists named a swampy region south of New Orleans "Barataria'' after an episode in Cervantes' "Don Quixote de la Mancha.'' As Spanish literature teacher Mary Jo Brown explained in her letter, Don Quixote's sidekick, Sancho Panza, received an imaginary island on dry land named Barataria.

As early as 1732, French maps show the "Isle Barataria,'' encircled by Bayous Villars, Barataria, Rigolettes and Perot and Lake Salvador. The colonist Le Page du Pratz stated in his "History of Louisiana'' that the area was named for the fictional Barataria "because it was enclosed by these lakes and their outlets to form almost an island on dry land, as was that island of which Sancho Panza was made governor.''
Claude Joseph Villars Dubreuil, who was the king's contractor of public works, claimed to have named the Isle of Barataria. It was part of his extensive "Barataria Plantation'' that he acquired about 1730, partly for the extraction of timber and shells for construction work. Jean-Baptiste Massy, who received his land grant across the bayou in 1726, also named his plantation "Barataria.''

The labyrinth of bayous that served as a hideout for pirates and smugglers may have been responsible for the sense in which the name was applied to the whole region.

"Barataria'' is a Provencal equivalent to the 15th century French words "baraterie,'' meaning deception, and "barater'' meaning to deceive, to exchange, to barter. The English equivalents of "baraterie'' is barratry, one meaning of which is fraudulence or illegality at sea.

Betsy Swanson

It's so easy to lose the past...Thank Besty for saving some of it for us.