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Be He Ploughman or Painter February 27, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Facebook, meme, music, Toulouse Street.
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So I stumbled into one of those blogger “memes”, this one on Facebook, where you use random Wikipedia and Flikr searches to create a virtual band. It goes like this:

1 – Go to “wikipedia.” Hit “random”
or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 – Go to “Random quotations”
or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 – Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 – Use Photoshop (or similar) to put it all together.

And so I ended up with a band called Fairborne Ohio, with their debut record Be He Ploughman or Painter. I seem to have transposed the quote by George Bernard Shaw, but I think the sense of it survives..


Looking at the picture, I couldn’t help but think that this would be some sort of dark, folkie music. So I took the meme one step further and went to YouTube and the first likely looking track to come up under “dark folk” turned out to be by New Orleans’ own author, musician (and fellow Humid City blogger) Louis Maistros. It seems to me it could have come from this mythical album, so here it is.

The fact that you are out here reading this gives me some comfort that I haven’t squandered an entire hour of my life in pointless frittery.

Adiu Paure Carnaval February 24, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Carnival, New Orleans, NOLA.
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At the conclusion of Carnival in Nice, France, an effigy of Monsieur Carnaval is burned, the ancient story of the burning man, the sacrifice in fire. As told by Mama Lisa’s World Blog, in that rite Monsieur Carnaval “is responsible for all the wrongdoing people do throughout the year. At Carnival time in France, Monsieur Carnaval is judged for his behavior throughout the preceding year. Usually he’s found guilty and an effigy of him is burned.”

Accompanying the ritual is a song, and I offer the lyrics collected by Mama Lisa below, both in Occitan (the language of the Troubadors) and in English. I suggest you click the link to open in a new tab or window so you can follow along as far as the MP3 goes.

And so, from New Orleans, Adiu Paure Carnaval.

Adiu paure Carnaval

Adiu paure, adiu paure,
adiu paure Carnaval
Tu te’n vas e ieu demòri
Adiu paure Carnaval
Tu t’en vas e ieu demòri
Per manjar la sopa a l’alh
Per manjar la sopa a l’òli
Per manjar la sopa a l’alh
Adiu paure, adiu paure,
adiu paure Carnaval

La joinessa fa la fèsta
Per saludar Carnaval
La Maria fa de còcas
Amb la farina de l’ostal

Lo buòu dança, l’ase canta
Lo moton ditz sa leiçon
La galina canta lo Credo
E lo cat ditz lo Pater

Farewell, Poor Carnival

Farewell, farewell,
Farewell, poor Carnival
You are leaving, and I am staying
Farewell, poor Carnival
You are leaving, and I am staying
To eat garlic soup
To eat oil soup
To eat garlic soup
Farewell, farewell,
Farewell, poor Carnival.

The young ones are having a wild time
To greet Carnival
Mary is baking cakes
With flour from her home.

The ox is dancing, the donkey’s singing
The sheep is saying its lesson
The hen is singing the Credo
And the cat is saying the Pater.

The Mardi Gras Mysteries February 23, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, Carnival, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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“Don’t be fallin’ out of your house with no needle and thread in your hand”
–Mardi Gras Indian Chief heard one Lundi Gras evening long ago on WWOZ-FM

It is only Monday morning and already I have Wednesday’s aching legs, tottering on squat stilts in search of coffee-and-chicory. Already I have Wednesday’s mouth dry as ashes, and I think: Lundi Gras? Am I getting too old for this? Tonight they will march by torchlight in honor of Orpheus, and I am not ready.

And yet I know that sometime much too early tomorrow morning someone in an Odd costume wearing my face will walk down Felicity Street, feeling the old ballast cobbles through thin costume shoes I know better than to wear. As I approach the Dionysiac crowd, the howling of sirens and brass in the distance, I will catch a glimpse of something–the sun flashing on sequined creatures singing of wine, a flock of silvered balloons escaping to heaven reflected in the eyes of a child–and it will not matter how I felt today or Wednesday’s cost at the Counting House.

Shop local and online for Carry Me Home February 22, 2009

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Stay Local.
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While Carry Me Home is available online at Lulu.com and Amazon.com (and Powells.com in Portland, one of the world’s great bookstores) , if you are a committed online shopper I suggest you also consider patronizing a locally-owned bookstore with an online ordering system: Octavia Books

Too Loose Street February 20, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, home, Mid-City, New Orleans, NOLA, parade, Rebirth, Recovery.
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Finally, we get to have the party.

Carnival Preview: Shin Fein February 19, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, Carnival, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, NOLA, Sinn Fein, Toulouse Street.

Here is a preview of my Carnival costume. I’m calling him Shin Fein, for reasons that will be obvious to most people who stumble into this Odd corner of the Intertubes. The Chinese name Shin can be (loosely) translated as Belief, Faith, etc. which I think goes well with the concept of Sinn Fein.

I may have taken a picture with a dorkier looking expression at some time in my past, but I certainly haven’t kept a copy of it around. I look like I should be holding up a sign-board and have ink stains on my finger tips. And, no, I have not gotten a gold tooth, but it would certainly match.

Mrs. Wet called me “vain” when I noticed that she hadn’t fixed the collar before she snapped the picture. I think she was still mad at me for running around K-Mart holding up women’s pants to my waist and asking if they made me look fat. (Yes, those are women’s capris in a size that requires the use of scientific notation. They were the best I could do for slacks).

The hat was the genesis of the costume. The jacket goes well, either gold side out or green side out. The pants were a compromise, but work OK with the gold stockings and shoes. By the next time I pull this out, I hope to have found some decent Kung Fu pants in just the right color.

Now I just have to think of a good mixer for green tea. I’m not to sure about vodka.

See you on the Avenue or roaming the quarter.


R.I.P Snooks February 18, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, blues, music, New Orelans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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Another cutout figure at the Fairgrounds come April. Too many already, too many, and every year takes a few more. My wife loves the blues and that I hadn’t taken her to see Fird “Snooks” Eaglin yet and well, I don’t have many regrets but the list just got one longer.

The Travesty of the Commons February 17, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, assholes, Carnival, Carrollton, Mardi Gras, Mid-City, New Orleans, NOLA, parade, Toulouse Street.
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Photo courtesy of that Yellow Blog guy

While reasonable people are safe in bed, visions of flashing Krewe d’Etat throws dancing in their head, there are other truly Odd people out in the dark doing strange things on the neutral ground: painting lines, stretching bits of yellow tape, and effecting odd geometric shapes from wire utility flags. They are out claiming the public neutral ground as their own private parade party spot.

This is nuts.

The ladders are bad enough. Now we never had a ladder that I remember growing up, but this isn’t long repressed ladder envy. I have fond memories of being hoisted on my father’s shoulders to watch the parades pass down Canal St. Ladders are a great way for small children to see the parade. That is how this all started out. Instead my beef is with the people who arrive in the dark of night (or sometimes midday, apparently unencumbered by inconvenient jobs) and plant rows of ladders along the curb on parade routes. The result: only these lucky few can actually see or catch any throws. The rest of us get to stand in back and watch them.

Technically, this is illegal. A ladder must be as far back from the curb as it is tall, and cannot be chained together with other ladders to make a wall. Sadly, the NOPD gave up enforcing these regulations after Katrina. Given that we live in one of the three most dangerous cities on Earth, I guess they have a point. This did not, however, prevent them from deploying the full force of the city to tone down Mid-City’s bonfire.

But on that same neutral ground every year, people (mostly not from our neighborhood) show up and spray paint themselves blocks of neutral ground larger than some homes in our neighborhood, and if you want to challenge their right to do so you had best be ready for fisticuffs. This is insane. Parades are supposed to be for everyone. That is why we allow them to roll down the city’s public streets, rather than having them circle the floor of the Superdome for ticket buyers. But try telling that to the neutral ground Nazi’s.

It is simply another example of the continued crumbling of the basic social contract, and the tendency of some in the greater world to privatize the commons for their own benefit to the greater society’s detriment. When Washington and Baton Rouge are run on this basis, why not grab your own piece of public property for your private party?

When people are ready to come to blows because you might want to stand on a piece of common ground they cleverly spray painted an imaginary box on, is it any wonder we roam around the city killing each other for slightly more egregious slights?

All I know is if the NOPD is too busy to care about this sort of thing, then maybe we should go back to having the bonfire we all enjoyed because, frankly, we’re not interested in being bothered with all the city’s troublesome regulations either.

Thankfully the secret den of the Krewe of Too Loose is conveniently located on the side away from the neutral ground, and the people at the end of our nearest street intersecting the parade route are civil, even friendly, and you can actually wiggle up front without anyone taking a swing at you. Unlike the famous postulate of the tragedy of the commons we don’t ruin our own bit of space because it is our own, a corner we all pass every day. We behave as we do because we are neighbors.

Feel free to break into This Land Is Your Land at any time, especially that verse we never sang in school:

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

The Daughters of the Moon February 16, 2009

Posted by The Typist in art, books, literature.
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If you are a regular visitor here, there is at least a chance you would enjoy subscribing to the RSS Feed of Fiction and Poetry from the New Yorker. Today’s fiction installment from Italo Calvino was particularly good–if you like that Odd sort of thing as much as we do–a perfect fable for our own time.

So what are you waiting for? Go check out The Daughters of the Moon.

Copyright & Fair Use Notice February 16, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.

All original work on Toulouse Street is (c) 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 by Mark A. Folse

Any outside copyrighted material presented here is done so for the purposes of news reporting and comment consistent with USC 17 Chapter 1 Title 107. Any copyrighted work or trademarks presented here remain the property of their owners.

Aggregation of the content from this blog is permitted for non-commercial purposes only. Blog readers are encouraged to use their favorite tool to read this site. Other bloggers quoting from and/or linking to this site is encouraged. Aggregators outside of reasonable fair comment may only re-present the original material from this site by prior permission.

The man with the beautiful eyes February 15, 2009

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, poem, Poetry.

A long day, and too tired to write. Thankfully, others have come before us and found all the best words. The rest of us just collect and rearrange them, like old homeless men shuffling in their carts to make room for one bright shining bottle among the crushed cans.

Carry Me Home book signing Saturday February 13, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, 8-29, books, Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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coverThe Maple Street Book Shop will host a signing of Carry Me Home on Saturday, February 14 from 12-2 p.m. Maple Street Book Shop is located as 7523 Maple St. in New Orleans in the Uptown/Carrollton area.

Carry Me Home is available online at Lulu.com and Amazon, but I encourage you to patronize your local bookstores listed on the side of the page.

“It belongs on the bookshelf alongside the other worthy post-Katrina works. [His] heart is absolutely in the right place, and it is that heart — that passion — that the reader will ultimately remember from this book.”
• Voices of New Orleans blog, published by Chin Music Press (publisher of Do You Know (What It Means to Miss New Orleans)

“Mark’s writing is about skill and heart… A blend of reporting, memoir and analysis, Carry Me Home is as immediate as it is reflective. It’s more than a love letter to New Orleans – it’s a survival guide for post-Katrina America. Mark shows how to go through a disaster with your soul intact.”
• Michael Tisserand, author of “Sugarcane Academy” and “The Kingdom of Zydeco”

“Mark Folse is one of the best writers in Louisiana.”
• Greg Peters, Suspect Device cartoonist

If you meet Darwin on the road, kill him February 11, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, Catholic, New Orleans, NOLA.
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The New Orleans bloggers’s scientist-in-residence Maitri kills the cult of Darwin to save evolution. I haven’t had the time lately to post many “read this” items, but read this. Your brain will thank you.

On a related note, the Catholic Church affirms that the theory of evolution is consistent with Catholic doctrine. It was not long ago that the Vatican astronomer suggested it was OK to believe in alien life as well as the Big Bang

Any day that is a bad day for the Cult of the Gospel Inerrant is a good day for humanity.

Whirling and Skirling February 11, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, music, New Orleans, NOLA.
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Thanks to Loki of Humid City for sending me off to find Corvus Corax (something he said on Twitter about bagpipes, which I love the sound of).

These guys take piping to a place so Odd that they are now among our favorite groups here on Toulouse Street.

I now know what I want to do when I grow up.

Hooked yet? I am. Here’s more.

Someone has got to invite these guys to Carnival to march.

Krewe du Vieux 2009 February 9, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Carnival, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Krewe du Vieux, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.

Update: Not sure how I got near the top of the Google heap for Krewe du Vieux 2009, but I promise to get some links up Tuesday night that will take you to people who were much less hungover than I and did a better job of recapping the parade. Links added down under.


Another fantastic Krewe de Vieux is just a blurry memory of a great time had before, during and after. Here are three members of the Secret Sub-Krewe of B.L.O.G. (Micheal, Leigh and your own humble narrator) at the before party. Mike and Leigh are new to Seeds of Decline, and had a fantastic time at their first KduV.

All of the krewes’ response to the theme of Stimulus Package rose to the occasion with no sudden drops in blood pressure, and the fun lasted well over four hours with no trips to the emergency room. I liked the new route, but was running low on throws and energy by the time we reached Frenchman. Not using a cart caused us some problems since we like to throw, but I was generally happier working out of a throw bag. Not being the mule to the throws cart I actually saw a larger number of people I knew along the parade. Colton School was a great venue for the ball, and the music was the best it’s been in several years.

I’ll get back here and link up some pictures but it’s a crazy day at work and yesterday I was not ready to do any thing not absolutely required for survival (including those three pints of Hair o’ the Dog at Finn McCool’s for Stehen Rea’s book launch party for Finn Mccool’s Football Club: The Birth, Death, and Resurrection of a Pub Soccer Team in the City of the Dead I’m not a footballer but his wife and mine work together, and I’m looking forward to reading his book).

Once I get a free minute tonight, I’ll roll up some links to blogs and photos from the festivites from other members of the Benevolent and Lewd Order of the Garrulous (B.L.O.G.).

Later Still: Here’s the links I promised. I think the thinness of the posts is a powerful indicator of just how much fun everyone had Saturday night. It’s going to take us days to recover. I can’t get to Flickr from work (nasssty Counting House firewallll; we hates it) but if you go there and search for Krewe du Vieux 2009, you’ll find quite a few snaps. I do not recommend viewing them at work, unless you have to move that big shipment of edible candy underwear off the counter to get to your PC.

Library Chronicles Quick KdV notes

Maitri’s VatulBlog The Best Krewe du Vieux Parade Yet!

Michael Homan After Krewe du Vieux

Adrastos Krewe of Cleavage

Humid Haney KDV 2009 The Stimulus Package

Nola-dishu Krewe du Vieux 2009 with lots of pictures (see warning above).

Are you ready to stumble!? February 6, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Carnival, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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Don’t miss Krewe du Vieux this Saturday, starting at 6:30 pm and being frog marched through the quarter by the cranky N.O.P.D. along the death march route shown below. Your humble narrator marches in Seeds of Decline, and our theme this year is Fanny Mae Goes Down on Wall Street. We’ll have some surprising Community Chests, so take a Chance with the Monopoly Man cause he got the dough-rei-me for you.


Welcome to Seeds and to the secret sub-krewe of the Benevolent and Lewd Order of the Garrulous (B.L.O.G) fellow bloggers Liprap and Micheal Homan, who join Adrastos, Matri, Hana, Dangerblond and who all else am I forgetting? (Um, Alli, Ray and Karen is who). Let the absinthe flow and the good times go rolling along.


When there is no sun February 4, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Jazz, music, New Orleans, NOLA, Shield of Beauty, Toulouse Street.
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As we crawl over the finish line of what I lately think of as “slump day” rather than “hump day”, here’s a soothing sea of darkness for travelers to the outer planets and other Odd folks, courtesy of the one and only man from Saturn.

Carlos Mencia may actually have testicles February 3, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Carnival, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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“I’m glad Hurricane Katrina happened. It taught us an important lesson: black people can’t swim.”
–Carlos Mencia

If you think the title of this post is funny, you are probably a fan of Carlos Mencia, or likely would be. Here on Toulouse Street we are not quite so excited to see he was selected as one of the celebrity riders of Harry Connick Jr.’s Krewe of Orpheus. But it does take some cojones for Mencia to come down and ride on a float in the city he suggested it was stupid to rebuild.

It looks like the Blog of New Orleans has stolen all our thunder* on this one with their response to the Krewe’s announcement that among their featured guests is the comedian, restaurateur and astute social critic who came up with the above quote.

Personally, I want everyone in New Orleans to see the above quote and to vid the clip cited below, and for the NOPD to suggest to Orpheus that they can’t afford to protect Mencia’s sorry ass on the night before Carnival.

For some backstory, you need to go in the wayback to 2006. Those of us who don’t watch much Comedy Central or who have stumbled into his show and fled the room as if it were filling with carnivorous army ants probably would have missed Mencia’s take on New Orleans.

Fortunately someone sent an unrelated clip to NOLA novelist, activist and blogger Poppy Z. Brite. She ended up clicking on another Mencia clip on Comedy Central, and she Was Not Amused by what she saw. That led to this post on 3/6/06 on her blog Dispatches from Tanganyika that launched the phrase We Are Not OK. A number of us picked up on that phrase We Are Not OK, most famously Ashley Morris.

I agree with a lot of my fellow local bloggers that we have bigger things to worry about then some idiot riding on a float: living in the world’s third most violent city, rampant government corruption, Louisiana State University’s plan to bulldoze an entire neighborhood before they figure out how to pay for their new fantasy hospital temple complex (leaving us all without sufficient hospital beds three-and-a-half years after); things like that.

Worrying about Mencia is like getting upset about whether there will be lemony-fresh street washing in the Quarter to help hose down the blood the next time someone is gunned down at 8 p.m. on a Saturday evening.

Still, I recognize the importance of the tourist industry, and I want everyone–even Mencia–to feel welcome. I think all we might reasonably ask from Mencia is an apology for being an asshole. However, I have a strong suspicion that he doesn’t recognize he’s an asshole, so until someone comes up with a twelve step program for assholes I suspect we wont’ be getting that apology letter anytime soon.

Hey, Carlos, if you actually have the endocrinal fortitude to show up, I just want to let you know: We Are Not OK, still, all these years later. But we are not going anywhere. We are rebuilding right here, so you can come down and ride on a float in Carnival. A couple of cautions: stay off of Bourbon Street, don’t drink anything in a funny shaped container, and, oh yes: some of us throw back.

The Brydum Tandem Project February 2, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, Crime, New Orleans, NOLA, satire, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Members of the Iron Rail, an anarchist collective bookstore in the Marigny, are organizing a volunteer escort service called The Brydum Tandem Project for people who need assistance or just someone to help them get home safely in the Marigy and Bywater area.
Details here.

Given recent murder victim and fellow Anarchist Kirsten Brydum’s political leanings, I think this is an excellent memorial. More importantly, it is a valuable demonstration of how citizens who feel they cannot rely on the police for protection find ways to make themselves safer on their own.

Robberies and muggings in the areas below Esplanade have always been a problem,with criminals treating the large number of service industry employees traveling home with tips in their pockets as walking ATM machines, and the Fifth Police District is proving one of the most demoralized and least effective in the city. At least, they don’t appear to give a crap about the people who live in Bywater and St. Roch.

To volunteer, please email btpnola@gmail.com or call 504-259-4670.
I wonder about some of these punk/anarchists kids who come down here with stars in their eyes and wander about our dangerous city with a misplaced Rousseauian view of people. (See my remarks about the lumpen proletariat in mt last Byrum post). This initiative shows they have some sense about them.

What’s Odd about this is a conversation I had with someone Saturday night. We were discussing where to send their rising kindergartner for first grade. After we talked through the craziness of our fractured, semi-public school system, and agreed that while it was crazy, it couldn’t be worse than what was there before, I found myself wondering aloud: why stop at the schools?

Why not just disband city government entirely and replace it with some sort of syndicalist co-ops? It’s not as if City government works in any recognizable way. Before you think I’ve fallen off my rocker, I’ve lived places where the only fire department (and EMS service) was a volunteer department.

Why not just keep going and let me hire my own cops? Oh, wait, we just did that in the Mid-City NOPD Private Detail Shakedown, uh, I mean Mid-City Security District. We can contract out the incarceration, prosecution and jailing to whoever is the low bidder, and put convicted prisoners back to work doing something useful like fixing the streets. Isn’t this the Reagan dream? Does it get any more giant-car-dealer-flag Patriotic that this?

Why can’t we just start patching our own streets and replacing our own burnt-out street lamps? Asphalt patch is easy enough, and I’m sure I can borrow a ladder. And hell, I can pick my own garbage contractor based on best price, or start my own service. The cost couldn’t possibly be worse than what the city has negotiated.

As soon as I get the Sewerage & Water Board part figured out in a way that does not involve installing a cistern and dumping chamber pots in the streets, I’ll be calling an Urgent Torchlight Meeting on the subject. But first I have to find that old Bakunin t-shirt I had in the 70s.

If this post seems to be veering into sarcastic snark, I didn’t originally intend it that way. I have lived places where services like fire protection were staffed by volunteers. I’m already paying a premium to guarantee some of the finite number of police officers spend more time in my neighborhood (instead of yours; this is a Very Bad idea, as least as it exists today).

If we’re going to dismantle the completely dysfunctional public school system, why not have a full and frank discussion about how to do the same to city government?

Until we get to the One Big Union, I want to remind people with time and bicycles they can volunteer for the Brydum Tandem program by contacting btpnola@gmail.com or calling (985) 628-1330. This really strikes me as a good Syndicalist sort of idea (compared to, say, throwing stink bombs into fast food restaurants at international economics meetings).

Joe Hill would be proud.

Later: updated phone number per a comment.