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think only this of me September 28, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, Everette Maddox, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, quotes, We Are Not OK.
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…Oh if this moment
should indeed prove
to be the corner
I’ve spent 35 years
painting myself into

think only this of me

That one more cheap camera
has shattered
against the world’s beauty.

— Everette Maddox

Shelton Alexander–When the Levees Broke September 28, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, Flood, flooding, Hurricane Katrina, Katrina, New Orelans, New Orleans, poem, Poetry, Rebirth, Recovery, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.

Update: I talked to Shelton via MySpace mail and he has no idea who put this up or why it was taken down. Sorry.

Ground truth has a face. It is Shelton Alexander’s.

I have found a new version. It’s a crappy capture but it’s Alexander’s interview and the entire speech.

I told you I would be here.
It was important that I came.


For New Orleans September 21, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Debrisville, Everette Maddox, New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Another Everette Maddox poem for and about the city:

New Orleans

for Ralph Adamo

From the air it’s all puddles:
a blue-green frog town
on lily pads. More canals
than Amsterdam. You don’t
land — you sink. When
we met, you, the Native, shook
your head. Sweat dropped
on the bar. You said:
“You’re sunk. You won’t
write a line. You won’t make
a nickel. You won’t hit
a lick at a snake in this
antebellum sauna-bath. You
won’t shit in the morning if
you don’t wake up with
your pants down.” And you
were right: Three years later
I’m in it up to my eyebrows,
stalled like a streetcar.
My life is under the bed
with the beer bottles.
I’ll never write another line
for anything but love
in this city where steam
rises off the street after
a rain like bosoms heaving.

This is the Panic Office September 21, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Odds&Sods, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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This is the Panic Office, section nine-seventeen may have been hit. Activate the following procedure:

K-Ville September 17, 2007

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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Our New Hero

“Everyone’s going to think there’s crime like that in New Orleans,” my daughter said after the machine gunning of the fundraiser by the river. She’s right, because most Americans are easily led idiots. I mean, some of them think we’re winning in Iraq, or that New Orleans was destroyed by a hurricnae. I don’t care what they think. I’m New Orleans to the bone and I love this damn show.

On balance, I thought subplots around the deserting partner and Boulet’s struggle with his wife over staying or leaving were both genuine and believable. If you wander in here from the Outside, both are as close to home as you can get on television. Much of the rest of it was pure TV fantasy of the sort I liked when I was a kid (think Startsky & Hutch or the Rockford Files). However, the major plot isn’t that far off from conspiracy theories you can hear on the street today in NOLA about people buying up land in the Ninth Ward. And there were Blackwater mercenaries all over town in the days after the Federal Flood, riding around with automatic weapons and questionable deputations to act as law enforcement.

And as to the female bad guy’s statement toward the end: pure reality television. From a post I wrote what seems like a lifetime ago on Wet Bank Guide titled Knights of the Invisible Hand:

Jimmy Reiss, head of the New Orleans Business Council Reiss told the Wall St. Journal, with better services and fewer poor people. “Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completey different way: demographically, geographically and politically.”

Marlin, speaking for everyone who came home: you’re my new damned hero man. I may have to start watching a TV series again, something I haven’t done in a long time. Sure, it hits all the stupid cliche marks about New Orleans, but a lot of what went down in the premiere rings true. It is worth fighting for. Three hundred thousand of us can’t be that wrong.

If the idea that this show was more reality TV than fantasy bothers you, well, I hear that Britanny Spears will be on MTV later. If you hurry you can catch it again.

Me, I’m going to watch the director’s cut online at the Fox site for the show

Complicated Life September 16, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, French Quarter, New Orleans, NOLA.
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As my own swirls life madly out of control and into what a acquaintance who moved from professional musician to corporate citizen once called The Swirling Vortex, it’s time to stop and listen to some fine advice for everyone who lives in New Orleans, or wishes they did: remember why we’re here.

Damn, that felt good, now, didn’t it? Go ahead, play it again. Or better yet, click on the Share This link and give this video five stars now to show your appreciation.

Here’s some info from the You Tube posting:

Filmed in mid-2005, this is a glimpse into life on the French Quarter’s lower Decatur Street before Hurricane Katrina.

Originally written by Ray Davies of the Kinks, this track is performed by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band featuring Clint Maedgen on vocals with a guest appearance by the New Orleans Bingo! Show in the video.


The Man Who Sold The World September 15, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, Toulouse Street.
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This 1970 David Bowie classic has always touched me in a way I never clearly understood. Perhaps it was just the Lovecraftian otherness of a chance meeting with a mysterious other overlaid on such a simple melody, its almost-a-story of a chance meeting that opens a portal into an entirely new world. I hadn’t heard this song in perhaps 30 years until the Nivana cover of it popped onto the radio a few weeks ago. Suddenly, upon hearing it again, I saw the lyric in an entirely new light, understood at last the relationship between the man of the first verse and that of the second.

Who was the mysterious stranger on the stair? An immortal? One of the forgotten gods of the distant past? Or just an image of the artist in a passing mirror?

It need not have been a god. What were gods without the men who sung them, without whom the gods would have been merely immortal. The singers made them larger than life, larger than the world through which they strode. The speakers of their names were the makers of the gods, the artisans of their world. Homer begat Hesiod begat Aeschylus, through the Romans and all the way to the Romantics of two centuries ago: the story and its telling are the real immortality of those gods and Titans.

Who then is the man who sold the world? The devil of the Old Testament? Or the Satan of Milton, rebellious Prometheus with the gift of fire? Sold the world at what price, to what gain? I had always like to think that he stood outside that dichotomy, an agent neither of the old god or his antagonist, someone or something at once beneath and behind the stars, one who has traded Maya for–what? Something those who have not passed that point cannot understand.

Hearing this song again at this point in my life, I feel I have entered into it at last. I have followed the enigmatic stranger of the first verse into the perilous journey. I have left behind the world as American knows it, have sold it gladly in exchange for the chance to come home, into the mystery of New Orleans: the strangest and most comfortable place I have ever known. In surrenduring to that irrational instinct I have become that stranger, become the person of the end of the second verse and chorus: the man who sold the world.

This insignificant post in cyberspace is my own chance to close the circle, to circle back and play the stranger of the first verse , to pass a spark of the flame to another, perhaps to lead them here. Listen: there is no price on the world, no thing to be accepted in exchange, and so everything to be gained in the transaction. As Don Juan’s disciple discovered, at the face of a precipice the choice is not binary, to step back to safety or to fall: one can jump.

We passed upon the stairs,
We spoke of was and when
Although I wasn’t there
He said I was his friend
Which came as a surprise
I spoke into his eyes — I thought you died alone
A long long time ago

Oh no, not me,
We never lost control,
You’re face to face,
With the man who sold the world

I laughed and shook his hand,
I made my way back home,
I searched for form and land,
Years and years I roamed,
I gazed a gazely stare,
We walked a million hills — I must have died alone,
A long long time ago.

Who knows, not me,
I never lost control,
You’re face, to face,
With the man who sold the world.

Here’s Bowie’s acoustic version:

and Nirvana’s excellent cover of the song (embedding not allowed by publisher).

Josef Zawinul passes September 11, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Jazz, Mid-City, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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No, this has not a damned thing to do with New Orleans, but the passing of a great jazz man is always worth noting.

Here is an early Weather Report appearance on German TV. Peter at Adrastos has an amusing Weather Report/Zawinul story. The clip he posts has one of the later bassists (I’m not sure if it Pastorius or someone else) doing their signature version of Birdland. Here’s something slightly more out there with the larger Weather Report ensemble of the earliest days, including Miroslav Vitous on bass.

I need New Orleans more than New Orleans needs me September 2, 2007

Posted by The Typist in art, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Recovery, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Noted sculptor, Xavier professor and of course Orleanian John Scott, interviewed on June 29 from Houston as he struggled with the illness that took his life this week:

“That’s the only home I know. I want my bones to be buried there. I belong there. I need New Orleans more than New Orleans needs me.”