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The Green Fuse December 28, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Dylan Thomas, poem, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

Dylan Thomas, “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

It’s an animation, not an actual film but something someone has built from a still photograph plus the audio recording. It matters not.

Dylan on the Ghosts of New Orleans December 28, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, ghosts, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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This is an interesting thing I haven’t come across before, from Bob Dylan’s autobiographical Chronicles, Volume OneChronicles, Volume One.

The Ghosts of New Orleans
by Bob Dylan

The first thing you notice about New Orleans are the burying grounds – the cemeteries – and they’re a cold proposition, one of the best things there are here. Going by, you try to be as quiet as possible, better to let them sleep. Greek, Roman, sepulchres- palatial mausoleums made to order, phantomesque, signs and symbols of hidden decay – ghosts of women and men who have sinned and who’ve died and are now living in tombs. The past doesn’t pass away so quickly here. You could be for a long time.

The ghosts race towards the light, you can almost hear the heavy breathing spirits, all determined to get somewhere. New Orleans, unlike a lot of those places you go back to and that don’t have the magic anymore, still has got it. Night can swallow you up, yet none of it touches you. Around any corner, there’s a promise of something daring and ideal and things are just getting going. There’s something ly joyful behind every door, either that or somebody crying with their head in their hands. A lazy rhythm looms in the dreamy air and the atmosphere pulsates with bygone duels, past-life romance, comrades requesting comrades to aid them in some way. You can’t see it, but you know it’s here. Somebody is always sinking. Everyone seems to be from some very old Southern families. Either that or a foreigner. I like the way it is.

There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better. There’s a thousand different angles at any moment. At any time you could run into a ritual honoring some vaguely known queen. Bluebloods, titled persons like crazy drunks, lean weakly against the walls and drag themselves through the gutter. Even they seem to have insights you might want to listen to. No action seems inappropriate here. The city is one very long poem. Gardens full of pansies, pink petunias, opiates. Flower-bedecked shrines, white myrtles, bougainvillea and purple oleander stimulate your senses, make you feel cool and clear inside.

Everything in New Orleans is a good idea. Bijou temple-type cottages and lyric cathedrals side by side. Houses and mansions, structures of wild grace. Italianate, Gothic, Romanesque, Greek Revival standing in a long line in the rain. Roman Catholic art. Sweeping front porches, turrets, cast-iron balconies, colonnades- 30-foot columns, gloriously beautiful- double pitched roofs, all the architecture of the whole wide world and it doesn’t move. All that and a town square where public executions took place. In New Orleans you could almost see other dimensions. There’s only one day at a time here, then it’s tonight and then tomorrow will be today again. Chronic melancholia hanging from the trees. You never get tired of it. After a while you start to feel like a ghost from one of the tombs, like you’re in a wax museum below crimson clouds. Spirit empire. Wealthy empire. One of Napoleon’s generals, Lallemaud, was said to have come here to check it out, looking for a place for his commander to seek refuge after Waterloo. He scouted around and left, said that here the devil is damned, just like everybody else, only worse. The devil comes here and sighs. New Orleans. Exquisite, old-fashioned. A great place to live vicariously. Nothing makes any difference and you never feel hurt, a great place to really hit on things. Somebody puts something in front of you here and you might as well drink it. Great place to be intimate or do nothing. A place to come and hope you’ll get smart – to feed pigeons looking for handouts. A great place to record. It has to be – or so I thought.

Excerpted from ”Chronicles, Volume One” by Bob Dylan. Copyright © 2004 by Bob Dylan.

Home December 25, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Dancing Bear, home, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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That people are forced to live elsewhere is not just a shame, it is a crime against the laws of humanity.

One way or another, it’s time to bring everyone Home.

You just gotta have Faith that it can be done.

Happy. Peace. Merry. Joy December 24, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Christmas, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans Saints, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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On reconsideration, this deserves it’s own post.

As the wheel turns away from the dark, let us all follow and second line into the light.

The dew upon their feet shall manifest. December 24, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Xmas.
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Not everyone in this nation is a Christian, and so many struggle with this season. For those who’s own world view does not tend toward the religious, I offer this gift of a favorite poem that has carried me through many a churchly holiday and more than one family funeral.

If this seems too solemn, then let all of the gods and spirits and sons of men join together and dance. The faster we go, the rounder we get.

Sunday Morning

1

Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.

2

Why should she give her bounty to the dead?
What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measure destined for her soul.

3

Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth.
No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave
Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind.
He moved among us, as a muttering king,
Magnificent, would move among his hinds,
Until our blood, commingling, virginal,
With heaven, brought such requital to desire
The very hinds discerned it, in a star.
Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be
The blood of paradise? And shall the earth
Seem all of paradise that we shall know?
The sky will be much friendlier then than now,
A part of labor and a part of pain,
And next in glory to enduring love,
Not this dividing and indifferent blue.

4

She says, ‘I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;
But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields
Return no more, where, then, is paradise?’
There is not any haunt of prophecy,
Nor any old chimera of the grave,
Neither the golden underground, nor isle
Melodious, where spirits gat them home,
Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm
Remote on heaven’s hill, that has endured
As April’s green endures; or will endure
Like her remembrance of awakened birds,
Or her desire for June and evening, tipped
By the consummation of the swallow’s wings.

5

She says, ‘But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.’
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires. Although she strews the leaves
Of sure obliteration on our paths,
The path sick sorrow took, the many paths
Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love
Whispered a little out of tenderness,
She makes the willow shiver in the sun
For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze
Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.
She causes boys to pile new plums and pears
On disregarded plate. The maidens taste
And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.

6

Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.

7

Supple and turbulent, a ring of men
Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn
Their boisterous devotion to the sun,
Not as a god, but as a god might be,
Naked among them, like a savage source.
Their chant shall be a chant of paradise,
Out of their blood, returning to the sky;
And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice,
The windy lake wherein their lord delights,
The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills,
That choir among themselves long afterward.
They shall know well the heavenly fellowship
Of men that perish and of summer morn.
And whence they came and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feel shall manifest.

8

She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, ‘The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.’
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

Voodoo, cannibalism, witchcraft in NOLA December 23, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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“New Orleans is also very ingrained in voodoo, cannibalism and witchcraft”
–Unidentified Army chaplain on a TV news report out of San Francisco

What precisely is the point of this video? Does the military actually employ exorcists? Did people in California really believe that people in New Orleans are cannibals?. Do I have to pay for this crap with my taxes?

Having lived away for almost 20 years and found myself taking my family through the entire tourism trip on visits to New Orleans, I missed out on the cannibalism tours.

As for the tax-payer financed exorcism by this frightening example of government-sponsored and -financed superstitious ignorance: In the name of every spirit in and of New Orleans, I command that the spirit this asshole chaplain, all like him and the god they worship–Begone. Jump up a pig’s ass and go drown yourself.

Big hat tip to American Zombie.

Peace Out, Man December 23, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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Ho!

Happy Holidays from the Burning Pit December 20, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Mid-City, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, parody, Toulouse Street.
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Somebody stop me, please.

I am so going to hell. December 20, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Dancing Bear, Mid-City, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, parody, Toulouse Street, Xmas.
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I wonder what they do down there on Xmas eve? Roasting chestnuts? I do miss having a roaring fire at the holidays and those little pine cones covered with heavy metals that make the pretty colors…

The Rebel Jesus December 19, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Chieftans, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Mid-City, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK, Xmas.
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I tried to answer Bart’s question about how to deal with Xmas when one is not an Xian as best I could. I think, however, that Jackson Browne kicks my ass.

So here, Bart, is at least part of the answer you are looking for:

So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.

The Rebel Jesus
Jackson Browne
The streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tales
Giving thanks for all God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

They call him by the “Prince of Peace”
And they call him by “The Saviour”
And they pray to him upon the sea
And in every bold endeavor
As they fill his churches with their pride and gold
And their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worshiped in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why they are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

But pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgment
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
We have need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.

Tunnel of Love December 16, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, Xmas.
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I took my wife and son down to Fulton Street to see the Xmas spectacle Harrah’s Casino and Hotel have put up there, in part from my own foggy memories of the snow tunnel at the Fairmont Hotel, the place old-timer’s still think of as the Roosevelt.
ShowTunnel
The tunnel of light was dark when we arrived around six, even though the published times are 4-8, so we wandered around and found the bar, where the pours were generous enough to keep the evenings encroaching chill at bay. At the far end of that block of Fulton right off Poydras, Big Al Carlson and the Bluesmasters were set up on stage and getting ready, so we settled in. Rebecca has been interested in seeing him, although I have an aversion to all bars in the busy strip of Bourbon except the Absinthe House, and always make a point of entering from the Conti Street side. I remarked walking up that I hoped to pass the rest of my life in New Orleans without darkening the door of Harrah’s Casino, and I tend to feel the same way about the tourist bars on Bourbon. The last time I had a drink on Bourbon was at the Famous Door and more than 20 years ago, when it was perhaps the last venue for trad Jazz, before it had become a karaoke bar (shudder).

Big Al is a consummate showman who works the drunks and out of towners the way his tight, Chicago-style blue band works the familiar repertoire. Given the setting (and that, like any working band in their circumstance they have a set of Xmas songs at the ready), they traded off a Robert Johnston for a Rudolph, a Muddy Waters for a Silent Night.

At one point in the show, Big Al sent the band off, and said there was one song he wanted to do on his own. He spoke about his band being a local band, and about the people of New Orleans, those who were home and those who were not, in whatever circumstance. He dedicated the song to the latter, those who have not made it back. He then launched into a throaty “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, his normally strong vocals cracking a bit as I had to rub away the hint of tears behind my own glasses.

Thanks for that, Big Al.

During the breaks, the tunnel was lit and the bubble “show” began to fall and my wife had her own, slightly teary “home moment”. After ten years (for me) and much of a life for her in the north, seeing even something that looked sort of like snow was enough to pluck at the heartstrings.

Xmas in Hell (aka You Tube) December 13, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Bloggers, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, parody, Xmas.
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I didn’t want to have to do this. They made me do it. It’s all their fault.

There, you’ve gone and ruined Xmas for all the little kiddies. I hope you’re satisfied.

We tree king in orient car December 10, 2007

Posted by The Typist in New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, Xmas.
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“We tree king in orient car
smoking a Jamaican cigar.
Make you lazy and so crazy:
Man dig that crazy star, -ar…”

Ah, the sounds of a man hanging his Xmas lights, singing stupid lyrics as a defense against the deathless earworms of traditional Xmas Muzak. There’s just something about dripping sweat on a chilly day while untangling icicle lights up on tippy toe on the porch railing right where the power lines enter the house that brings out the stupid in all of us.

“We wish for some figgy pudding.
We wish for some figgy pudding.
We wish for some figgy pudding and a cold glass of beer.
Good tidings to you, so what’s here to eat.
Some nice figgy pudding and a piece of cold meat.”

My wife comes to the door and glares at me in jest (I hope), then turns up the Charlie Brown Xmas album and closes the door. The lamps on my beloved plastic ivy that decorates the door go out. I leave off filing the orientation tabs off of grounded plugs by rubbing them on the cement steps and starting wiggling bulbs.

“Jingle Bells, Rudolph smells.
Santa broke the sleigh.
Mrs. Claus is a mean old broad
who drinks a quart a day, -ay”.

“If you need something productive to do, you can come inside and help,” my wife suggests. Have to remember the unplug everything before I water the plants, I remind myself. Never had that problem in Fargo, but can’t say I miss climbing that 24 foot extension ladder on a windy, 10-degree day to string up the giant triangular arrangement that made a tree. I left half a kilowatt of lights behind with friends up north, where battling the darkness seemed even more important when twilight is at 4 pm and it’s dark when you get to work at 7:30 in the morning.

“Im’a mimute,” I mumble, cord clamped firmly in my teeth (uh, is this thing plugged in?), as I stretch around the triple columns at the corners of my Craftsman porch, reaching to stretch the last string of icicle lights to the last nail. I must have left these strings up last year while the neighbor was having his roof redone, as there’s a certain Dickensian black grit covering the white wires of the icycles.

Ah, done at last, my own little Folse Drive in Mid-City.

Two Landscapes December 8, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Fargo, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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I have known both these places, have walked in emptiness and felt that which fills the emptiness like water rushing into a bowl. In some places we call this god, and in others we call this ghosts. At the dark of the year, I struggle to see the difference.

1) I have heard the inevitable noise in the signal called silence, the crisp, static rustle of snow falling upon itself in perfect stillness far below zero.

2) I have seen what some call ghosts, the emptiness that outlines the shapes that make a place in a landscape, the space without which there is no form. I have felt the haunting when there is nothing in the landscape but the shape of a place and its essential emptiness.

Mr. Rundgren on Line 6, Sir December 7, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Todd Rundgren, Toulouse Street.
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An evening with Todd at the House of Blues. It was good. First, dinner with good friends in the Foundation Club, which has remarkably good food. Then the show.

The vocal audio sucked at HoB. I don’t know if it’s just too small or poorly wired or if a show that’s all mike off of amps just sounds like that. My host the long-ago soundman-roadie gave a detailed critique after, but the guitar lines were fine, and I knew the words for almost every song as well as the band.

Nice mix of the old (as far back as as Broke Down and Busted f Runt, and two songs off of Something/Anything) and the new (the No World Order-era t Christ). I’d be lying if I said I knew his new work as well as the old, but I always enjoy hearing it because the man is a master song writer and producer. He just doesn’t do much bad work.

I first saw Todd Rundgren at McAllister Auditorium for the Wizard a True Star tour, and a half-dozen shows since them. I’m now 50 old, and TR is pushing 60. I may be as likely to see George Harrison as Todd again. Who knows what the hell might happen between Now and Next Time. I’m damn glad I went. Who do you love? Mr. Aykroyd asks on the wall above the stage. I say rip the Maharashi’s picture out of that frame, and put in TR’s.

Here’s the group that played New Orleans, on one of the songs from over three decades ago delivered just as we heard it the other night.

Mr. Bingle December 2, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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Thanks to the New Orleans Radio Theater website of local broadcast memorabilia for this snapshot of of our long-ago childhoods.bingle3.jpg Picture are Al Shea, a stalwart of Golden Era local television, along with Mr. Bingle and Pete the Penguin. The website tells us Shea was the voice of the Penguin, while the Mr. Bingle fan site tells us that Edwin Harmon “Oscar” Isentrout was the voice and puppeteer behind Mr. Bingle

Mr. Bingle was the star of an extended advertisement for the long-departed Maison Blanch department store chain which ran on late afternoon television back in the early 1960s. Those of us of a certain, late-Baby-Boomer age remember Mr. Bingle as one of the touch points of Christmas in New Orleans. In addition to the television show, Mr. Bingle was the start of the store windows at the Canal Street store.

Here’s a scratchy but listenable audio-only recording of an long ago Xmas Eve broadcast of the Mr. Bingle show.

The other side December 1, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Doors, Jazz Vipers, jim morrison, Toulouse Street.
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Somewhere on the other side of the first set of the Jazz Vipers on Friday night is The Other Side. Once I knew the way there, the road to dawn, but now I’m just an observer. I see my self 20 or 30 years ago passing in front of me on my way to the bathroom or the fresh air outside. I wonder when I lost the key to that door.

Once I knew the way:

‘Twilight is the door between worlds.’
Who spoke those words?
I knew this once.
Now all my lore’s forgotten,
the incantations hidden in a pile of bills,
among the undone lists of mundane tasks,
the litter of responsibility.

Perhaps when I am old enough to not care anymore I will recover the secret key. Until then, I will be that old man in the corner who rejoices vicariously in dance of the young. Someday, I will remember how to break on through.

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