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Why Does the Sun Go On Shining? September 28, 2011

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Odds&Sods, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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If you have found this blog occasionally depressing lately well you are probably not the only one. Thanks for all the “are you OK?” emails and, yes, fine. Thanks. I do sometimes spill my soul in unseemly fashion and I have what a licensed therapist called a “melancholic temperament”. Who knew the humors were still a part of modern medicine? (Scans office shelves for jars marked “Leeches”). He is licensed to dispense with all sorts of troubles so he must know what he’s talking about, right?

Then again, consider that day some years back as I was hanging from the crumbling edge of a work project precipice, staring into the toothy maw of Ophuk, the demonic opposite of Ganesha, kind god of great undertakings. Our leader, a teacher of yoga and Unitarian minister, took one look at our long dog faces and asked us each for a statement of personal affirmation to get us back on track. It came my turn, and without binking I offered this: today is a good day to die. And I smiled.

Remember, it’s always darkest just after the 5,000 ton counterweight falls off the drawing desk of Terry Gilliam and hurtles toward your sad, coyote ass like that light at the end of the tunnel madly whistling in clouds of steam to get you off the tracks.

Just drink lots of fluids, keep you towel handy and above all:

Which takes us to today’s lesson, taken from Micheal Stipe’s Epistle to the Athenians. No. Wait. Stop. If your neighbors aren’t pounding on the wall before the end of this you’re not doing it right. Turn it up and try again.

There. Doesn’t that fell better? PRN q.s. ad. lib.

Straw Man Dancing July 7, 2011

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, odd, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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I think I’ve been neglecting the Odd lately (thinking back to one of my first posts, Pride of Pothole, a photograph of one of the colored markers various agencies put into their street repairs). I stepped out onto my deck patio Monday morning for a cigarette and found this figure laying on the boards, and he looked so much like an Anasazi or other neolithic figure of a man with wild hair dancing. At least he did to me. He was gone by afternoon, blown into a few bits of straw ( scattered around. I thought for a while to try and transfer him to a piece of backing paper and using hairspray or something to mount him, but decided against it.

I recently read a wonderful novel form Chin Music Press titled OH! A mystery of ‘mono no aware’. Mono no aware is a core concept of Japanese poetry and literature: the elemental emotional connection to a moment in time, rooted in a pathos arising from the transience of all things. Cherry blossoms, there in great beauty one day, gone the next on the wind, are a routine example of such a moment. I treated Straw Man Dancing as just such a moment, a remarkable coincidence not coincidence but a reminder from the universe of the transience of the patterns we call life. I left him unmolested, and by afternoon the bits of him had blown apart and away.

Such is the stuff of which haiku and senryu are made. Feel free to leave one about the straw man in the comments.

The Porch and the Neutral Ground May 21, 2011

Posted by The Typist in books, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Thanks to Rachel at Dangermond.org for accepting my request to cover any event at the Saints & Sinner’s Festival, the GLBT literary weekend sponsored by the Tennessee Williams Festival. I wanted something for the blog after our extensive write ups of TWF, but since I know doodly squat about GBLT Lit I had to reach out to another literary blogger to help.

By Rachel Dangermond

Here in New Orleans all things are learned on the front porch and so it was on the second weekend of Jazz Fest after too many glass of rosé wine that I exclaimed to four female and two male guests the resounding declaration that if anyone wanted to know what becoming a lesbian was like it was like this – relentless incessant talking, which was what the five women (me included) were doing. And so it was that I came to write about a gay poet at the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival because in Googling the attendees I accidentally came across a poem by Michael Montalk that struck a nerve with me, The Hummus Sexual, where he writes:

The first time he felt he didn’t fit in

was in an all-male bar—so amazed

and disturbed by the artifice

of a completely womanless world.

After coming out as I approached 50, I was not prepared for the manless world that emerged from the lesbian community that surrounded me. It was so disconcerting I became more enamored by men than I had when I married and slept with them.

So on this gorgeous afternoon where the Mississippi is threatening to crest our levees, and news of some barges having struck the old Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge has caused massive traffic jams, and too many art exhibits are occurring simultaneously throughout the city, the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival is under way and 11 people went to hear five gay poets read from their current work at the Bourbon Pub.

I sat next an author who was on panel that followed, Merri Lisa Johnson, who said as I sat down that she had browsed the books at the Bourbon Orleans and Michael Montalk’s looked like one she had to have, his hot off the press, Cool Limbo, and she also said Montalk was a stylish dresser as indeed I had noticed – his awesome brown plaid pants.

And much as I was liking Montalk more and more, especially after he read a poem inspired by his twin sister who he called a drag queen and later admitted that he had been called a hag fag when he first arrived in New York because of his penchant for gal pals, it was the collective voices of these poets that made me realize there should be more than 11 people sitting in the audience.

Bryan Borland, a poet and the editor of Sibling Rivalry Press, read Theresa Senato Edwards’ Touch: The Journal of Healing a poem called The Touch of the Notch:

She’d done absurd things as a child:
the counting of steps up stairways,
the repeating grip of the doorknob in her palm,
always the going back to the knob,
going back to the corner of the door,
it had a notch in one of its grooves,
a smooth wooden pool of calm.

And again my mind went back to my porch, where days ago, during Jazz Fest, my neighbor, a music therapist with OCD problems herself had stopped to sit a spell on the porch, always counting the stairs on the way up and down, and always fighting back the blues that she knew were approaching. Borland’s range from Editor to Publisher to Poet was impressive, and he read We Left Early, his own poem about the lost generation of gay men who came before him.

I was taken by how much Sally Bellerose’s frank verse sounded more like a shout out to my own middle agedness as she read from her Married Ladies Have Sex in the Bathroom, which made me wish that my coming out had occurred when I was much younger, but then I would have missed all the men in my life. As she compared nursing to the Bourbon Street nude who lay there with glazed over eyes, I heard the same plea I had heard for years from my own mother, a nurse, who wanted to reach out to every patient that crossed her path but reality sterilized her noble thoughts.

Brad Richard dissected Thomas Eakins’ painting entitled Swimming down to each symbol of desire he found there; while Jeff Mann’s Thor poetry fit his bear demeanor all the way down to his fur fetish and manly feast imagery. I went back again to Montalk, who I had come to hear, on learning he was adopted, and so was his twin sister and older sister, I rushed to him afterwards to show him a photo of my adopted son, Tin.

I had asked the panel, but pointed it at Montlack, that is now not the time to put aside all these references to other – the heteros, the woman or the men, the family as Borland had described his gay friends and to incline ourselves to inclusiveness? Isn’t that what I was feeling on the porch the other night, where two twenty something year old boys were in our company, bringing some maleness into the mix for a change. That diversity feels better than same?

Montlauk said he had gone to a LAMBDA literary retreat in Los Angeles where it was noted that the 50 to 60 year-old lesbians were hanging out with the 20 to 30 year-old gay boys, who commented in the 1970s that would have never happened. And recently in New York at a reading by David Trinidad who had published a collection of the late Tim Dlugos poems, a young lesbian asked if she could read one because yes, lesbians read what gay men write and vice versa.

And still I wonder why with five poetic voices such as these, this afternoon in the Parade dance club in the Bourbon Pub, only 11 people were there to hear them. Thankfully, you can still buy their books. I picked up Montlack’s on the way out and will look for the others online.

Onward Through the Fog September 2, 2010

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Odds&Sods, quotes, Toulouse Street.
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Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
— Samuel Beckett

I’m not sure I should put this as the sig on my Counting House business email, but for the last seven or eight years through two jobs I’ve had a quote by the infamous UFO fraud Frank Scully at the bottom of all my emails. I’ve gotten many compliments on the quote–“”Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?”–but only one person who asked me who he was. It was the middle of the night, maybe 2:00 am, on one of the interminable overnight computer system change calls I sometimes have to attend; just two project managers stuck on the phone with nothing to do while other people do the real work somewhere off screen. I was sitting on my porch smoking a cigarette, courtesy of my wireless headset, just killing time. I don’t know how old the woman on the other end of the line, whom I’ve never actually met, is but she has a 19 year old son, so we’re likely contemporaries. She thought it funny that no one else had asked who Scully was, when so many people over the years had said “great quote!” in that edgy, slightly over-caffeinated way of people who actually enjoy their jobs in The Cube. I think I might use it as the epigraph for that book of Lessons for the Business Life from The Teachings of Don Juan and Carlos Casteñeda if I ever get around to writing it.

It’s easy to wonder exactly what the fuck you’re doing with your life when you’re on a business call at 2:00 am Saturday morning, why this terribly pleasant woman and I aren’t having this conversation over a drink or maybe beignets and a cafe au lait instead of through crackly headsets, as if adding a few CPU to some distant server were the Apollo 11 mission. We both seem the sort of person who has been at the corporate grind long enough to exude not the electric enthusiasm of the people who run Moloch but instead a quiet confidence tempered with a certain cynicism, as if we both know we have better things we should be doing with our lives were it not for the obligations–some out of love, some out of stupidity–we have acquired over the years.

Houston comes back on the line, and I snub out my cigarette, and go back into the home office, feeling just a little better for the whole exercise because I wasn’t left alone with the technicians and the vendors, the hour of silence waiting for them to come back on the line, because of the feeling there is another person in the room you could actually talk to once we’ve all signed off for the night.

A Moral Fable July 16, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Odds&Sods.
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Damn grasshopper’s got more sense than to stir in this heat, knowing he’s got all the the fat ants he could want to eat come winter.

Isolation is the gift March 27, 2010

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”

— Charles Bukowski (Factotum)

Do You Remember The Future, Dr. Memory? December 19, 2009

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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Three years since I wrote the post below, back when Wet Bank Guide was the main blog and this was the place where I could hang out my weird to air out in the shade, when Toulouse Street was a musty corner of the Internet frequented by Google spiders and no one much else and it’s election time again and I can’t think of anything better to say that what came out December, 2006, my thoughts trapped in this circular calender of purple, green and gold waiting on the advent of something miraculous but settling for the same streetcar that passed by an hour a day a month a year ago.

Can’t you show me nothing but surrender?
The ancient morality play, perfected beyond rehearsal, draws the largest crowd around the mummers wagon on a rumpled avenue: puppets and shadow characters built by our grandparents. Paintless and sagging facades backstop the stage, ill lit by a gravity-challenged lamp that casts shadows of the rats that worry the wires. Down the block comes dollar-colored motley hoisting its tin crown in the black parade, and the king lays down his crucifixion comic and calls the loser’s camp with congratulations. The news dissolves the audience into waring camps tossing empty bottles of Abita and Olde English at each other until a shot rings out and everyone scatters. Blue lights and horses parade down the street announcing Its Over and we retreat into the bars. In the comfortable ashen darkness the Lord Mayor and the Archbishop conspire separately to tear down the cathedral of the lakefront to better resurrect Ranch Lawn Acres. Across town the lucky bicker over the location of the towers they would build in their own image to ring the high ground, but the bloody-handed carpenters are all babbling around the taco trucks and the engineers are all practicing their Spanish in Austin. Beyond distraught, I blow my roll on a bottle of forgot I can’t quite finish. I call for a U-boat rescue but settle for a passing White Fleet while dreaming of a long ago Rasta Rocket V-8 ride home with a glove box spilling splibs into my lap. Potholes rock me gently to sleep.

The Gift November 28, 2009

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, oddities, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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OK, not exactly a holiday video for the increasingly infamous NOLA Bloggers War On Christmas, (aka The Hostilidays) but also because this is the piece I suggested Lou For A Day should stand up on the bar and declaim at Mimi’s if I can scrape off the right-channel music track. And hey, it’s all about the gifts, right? That and the food and the booze. In fact, I think I should make and give everyone bourbon balls this year, which seems the perfect expression of the holiday season.

Voodoo Chile November 13, 2009

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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Driving down Veterans Highway through Metairie after two beers at lunch, on the uncertain foundation of Vietnamese soup, Electric Ladyland seemed an odd choice to pop into the CD player. Its something we would have listened to cruising after lunch with a joint back at De La Salle. Once it started I found my hand uncontrollably snaking out to the volume knob until I finally cranked up the windows so people would stop staring, but I couldn’t help myself. There was something in Hendrix’s magic hands that demanded I raise the volume, and with every added decibel the euphoria of the moment was greater, a bad feedback loop of the sort that latches like crack onto the soft and susceptible parts of our brain. Rolling through the river of cars towards Lakeside Shopping Center I felt this incredible buzz, more than two beers could explain, the music awakening some hardwired residual psilocybin ecstasy left over from the Seventies. I seemed to hover somewhere over the traffic as if I were driving a monster truck and maybe a monster truck is the perfect analogy, my drive to crank the music louder and louder no different from the equally adolescent desire for a stupendous vehicle with a thundering mufflers but this was not some muddy hunter’s monster truck but a Voodoo Chile monster truck, riding those risers and tremendous tires out into the heart of the swamp to gather straw from alligator’s nests in the dark of the moon.

to

30 Century Man October 8, 2009

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, odd, Odds&Sods, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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I first started working on this little diversion sometime right after the 2008 holidays, at a time when I found myself mindlessly resting on the couch in front of endless House marathons on the television, an activity that is for me comparable to standing on a windy building ledge tossing pigeons at the fire department. I made this little thing to cheer myself up, as I think I am too old to successfully hop a moving freight and head for L.A. to search for Bukowski’s ghost, too encumbered to follow Rimbaud and Gauguin into a tropical never land. I finished it the other night for much the same reason it began. It is full of sound and pictures, signifying nothing. If this video speaks to you in some way, it still may not be too late to get help.

2008

Life, friends, is boring. July 18, 2009

Posted by The Typist in literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, poem, Poetry.
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While I try to scrape something together that does not bore me (much less you, poor soul who’s wandered in here looking for the Doobie Brothers or something), I offer you this:

Dream Song 14
By John Berryman

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatingly) “Ever to confess you’re bored
means you have no

Inner Resources.” I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes
as bad as Achilles,

who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into the mountains or sea or sky, leaving
behind: me, wag.

My G-g-g-g-generation January 19, 2009

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, music, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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Screw you Pepsi.

This is my generation, baby. Born in 1957 I am supposed to be the last of the true Baby Boomers, and the Clinton’s are supposed to be my generation’s President.

Hell, no.

Their Traingularnessess represent everything that went off the tracks sometime around 1970, when the American Moloch (Moloch whose drink is Pepsi) tried to swallow and vomit back in clever shrink wrap every forward thought, every intangible positive vibration the 60s produced.

While Obama has more Clinton veterans on his dance card than Ken Starr had on his witness list, he is a much better representation of, is in some way the resurrection of the better angels of our nature that the 1960s promised.

My generation. This is my generation, baby.

Hit it.

Electoral Dysfunction October 17, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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Even if the time isn’t right and you’re getting a bit over the hill, there’s still hope for your old soldier who won’t stand to attention. Try K-Cirevam, the miracle tonic that will help you get up and over your electoral dysfunction– you know, that “old ideas” slump–and prop up your sagging fortunes. You can stand tall again and win the adoration of women and men everywhere. Your running mate will thank you.

K-Cirevam is not for everyone. Side effects may include swelling and puffiness especially in the face and cheeks, restlessness, excessive blinking, mental and verbal confusion, shortness of temper, delusions of candor, and rigidity in unexpected parts of the body. If K-Cirevam causes such rigidity for more than four hours, especially in the thumb, call your doctor immediately.

K-Cirevam When you need to convince them that you’re the one who’s ready. Consult your witch doctor. Use only as directed.

Zardoz September 26, 2008

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, odd, oddities, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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Aiiiyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!

Geaux Tiger September 16, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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No, not the football team. I haven’t changed my anti-LSU status yet; not if I wish to remain happily married to a woman whose team was thrashed by LSU in the Sugar Bowl after the assembled drunken mob to the last man, woman and child booed a priest (the President of Notre Dame), then booed the band so loud we couldn’t here them. For three straight songs. Nice way to treat people who plopped down big bucks to see their (out of state) team play in the Sugar Bowl. I’m sure all those out-of-staters will be back next time. Be sure to tell them to ask for the “Tiger” rate.

No, I mean this tiger.

Lest we be accused of being too serious around here (and looking too hard at the Houston Chronicle web site is a sobering activity to put it mildly), we’re happy to see that even among the desperate devestation of coastal Texas we still find stories as Odd as this one.

The Emergency Is Broken September 9, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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So Monday night I took my son out to far Metairie around Transcontinental for his saxophone lesson, and tried to run some errands. At that time of day, I usually find I can get down Veterans Boulevard faster than I can down Interstate-10 running in parallel a half-mile over, so my drive takes me through the shopping strip the long way. As I crossed over into Metairie I thought it was odd that the grocery store Dorignac’s had an empty parking lot. At first I thought perhaps everyone had loaded up on groceries to heavily this weekend that business was just slow. I didn’t think about it again until after I dropped off my son.

I pull into the parking lot of Clearview Shopping Center and notice that Target’s parking lot is mostly empty. That’s Odd, I think, then wonder again if there was such a frenzy of restocking after the Hurricane Gustav evacuation (not to mention the post-evac malaise that seems to be troubling everyone) was keeping the shoppers at home. Score for me, I thought. I should finish in plenty of time. So I trundle up to the door. Locked. It’s closed, a woman sitting on the bench by the door tells me. When I ask why, she shrugs and looks away. OK, then.

So I start off towards K-Mart thinking, this is weird. Why would they be closed on a Monday night at 7 pm? One thing I needed were filters for the central air, so I suddenly realize I can drop into Lowe’s and get those. So I execute a perfect New Orleans center lane turn into the parking lot to notice it is eerily empty as well. Then I see that two Lowe’s semis are pulled across the front door, right in the fire lane. As I pull up toward the door, someone inside is waving off another shopper. Closed.

So, I’m about ready to give up until I remember seeing the Right-Aid by Transcontinental all lit up, so I head there. Closed. Zuppardos has people in the parking lot, so I make the quick reverse course u-turn on Vets to get there (a 1/4 mile of suburban driving to cover maybe 75 feet as the crow flies), then decide to check the Rouses just up the street instead. It is open, and even appears to have some frozen food (which was completely absent on Saturday at my Mid-City Rouse’s). Odd. I never asked the clerks why they were open. I figure they had no more clue than I did.

Years ago one of my treasured 1984 Worlds Fair souvenirs was little glass tube containing a sketchy looking cigarette with an Asian imprint on it and a strike anywhere match. A friend picked a handful of these up at the close-out/discount store after the Fair was over. The tube was labeled “The Emergency Is Broken”. I think I know what they meant. When my son was a wee thing, I bought him a cheap Space Shuttle toy of the sort that rolls around and bounces off walls, then takes off taxiing in another direction. Among it’s other Realistic Space Sounds it would announce “Three, Two, One, Blastdown!”.

I think this is called Japenglish, but I don’t want to slight anyone’s native tongue or town. I seriously doubt either of these things were “Made in Japan” like the cheap swords and Confederate skirmish caps we would buy in City Park when I was a little kid. And I kind of enjoy these errors in transliteration. At my last job we used to amuse ourselves by taking Business Requirements Documents written by our customers, running them through the Babel Fish translation from English-to-Dutch, then back again, to see if we could improve the clarity of those sad documents. Sadly, there were times when we could. Internet and instant messaging access are dangerous in a two-hour tele-meeting.

I asked the guys outside Lowe’s, the one who walked up to the door and talked to the clerk if there was still some sort of curfew in Jefferson Parish that I missed hearing about, but he said, “No, but we might as well be.” It seems that out in the land of the big box stores, the emergency is truly broken. Someone needs to tell me when it’s safe to go shopping again.

Cajun Crack August 11, 2008

Posted by The Typist in oddities, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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I could just barely resist buying a can of Adrenaline Chicken. After all, “Packed with Pure Adrenaline, Its Cajun Crack!” It sounds like something Hunter S. Thompson would insist on putting on his scrambled eggs, along with some tequila.

Damn, I just immediately fell in love with that name. I hope he makes his own TV commercials. Somehow, the quirky local pitchmen seem to have fallen off of Planet New Orleans, and we sure do miss them.

And get a close-up load of that chicken.

Lest you think I have falled into crass product placement, let me just say that if Nino Thibodaux wants to send me a can, I’ll take it.

The Lad Searches the Night for His Newts July 27, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, art, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, music, oddities, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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We interrupt whatever the hell it was you meant to do when you stumbled in here to present this Important Public Service Announcement on the subject of Dental Hygiene.

But first, Motorhead must find his Newts…

Remember: as Theodore Bikel reminds us within the conceptual framework of this filmic event nothing really matters…

Who am us, anyway? May 31, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, oddities, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street, Uncategorized.
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I write about myself with the same pencil
and in the same exercise book as about him.
It is no longer I, but another whose life is just beginning.

— Samuel Beckett (1906-1989)

I first posted this quote 8/31/06 without any comment, when this blog was lurking in a dark and lonely corner of the internets and only seen by spiders.

Who are we that write out our lives on these blogs? Some of us play out the Social Media or Citizen Journalist role, but what about those of us doing something at once much more personal and still very public? I once tossed out the term “narcissistic blogger” on a mailing list and recoiled in horror at the familiarity of the face in that mirror. Some treat these little stages we erect on the Internet as the set of the one person show of our fascinating lives (so we think, or why else would we be here?), while others take on a mask and become someone else, hiding behind the possibility of anonymity. In either event the act of public writing transforms us.

As actors of a sort who we are deep inside informs whoever we try to project on this stage–a public Self or a fabulous Character. (And our public Selves are certainly contrived Characters, keeping Mr. ID corralled and Dr. Ego’s social relationships in good trim, else the world would be littered with the bodies of murdered co-workers and a long trail of casually ravished lovers). Whoever we think we are in our blogs, the act of performing in words makes us someone new, something more than the simple sum of actor and character. “It is no longer I, but another who’s life is just beginning.”

As I said, I had posted this quote before without much comment almost two years ago. I found it online the other day while looking for something else, and chose to unearth and repost it. Do we repeat ourselves because we’ve exhausted other subjects, or because repetition is an irresistible part of life; not a circle necessarily but a spiral that clocks around an imperceptible center? I like to think the latter rather than consider myself a broken record, a tiresome bore sitting on the same stool day after day drinking the same stale beer and endlessly recycling the same stories.

I think Yeats had it wrong, at least in general. If the spiral gyre runs out from the center it is not a failure of gravity but instead the trajectory of something that has reached escape velocity, acting out a driving impulse but anchored by the mathematical center without which the curve becomes a line. Our personal trajectory through time and space is certain to be governed by some center as surely as the moon controls the tides. Toulouse Street itself is the center here, seems fairly fixed in space and time: an island in this stream we think we are admiring from the deck even as the current sweeps us away, the unseen captain spinning the unresponsive wheel and shouting frantic orders lost down the tube in the diabolical noise of engines run amok.

This is an adventure.

A Sense of Security May 30, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, home, New Orleans, NOLA, oddities, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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Since we seem to be on a run of Silly Sign posts and since Michael Homan got this one up before me (or was it Peter?), here’s another candidate from Bienville Street in Mid-City. This lone survivor of a long gone fence has been standing guard since I arrived home two years ago, all through the gutting and renovation of the house behind it. It has been kept faithfully closed and latched all this time, parked in front of the porch like an old but faithful hound offering at least the loyal pretense of some security.

One thing I like about Mid-City is the overall sense of funky, that ineluctable pinch of file or dash of hot sauce gives everything in New Orleans its savor, the disorderly perfection an organic neighborhood mixing all sorts of people and places with a tendency toward the Odd.

Purple Heather, All In My Brain May 28, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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Oh, you take the high road
and I’ll take the low road

and I’ll be in India before ye’…

Purple Heather, all in my brain. Lately things don’t seem the same. Actin’ funny and I don’t know why…

Um, well, I’m pretty sure the person behind this video took the high road and not the rocky road to Dublin, oh. Not sure what choonery is, but I think this may be a perfect example from the sound of it. Rhymes with buffoonery. If anybody wants to help me out with my Scots feel free to jump in. (Kristy?)

Ok, if I’m this mindlessly bored I could go tell my wife I’m bored, and we all know how that will turn out.

Nah. Back to aimlessly wandering the interwebs and not thinking about, well, this. “Oh, the summer time is coming” but let’s try not to think about that too hard yet. “Oh, I’ll fill up my car/And I’ll take lots of water/And inside the car/I’ll pile all my possessions. Will you go, lassie, go/On an wild evacuation/We’ll have such a high time/in a motel outside Houston/ Will you go, lassie, go?”

Now cut that out right now, especially the sitar part. Time instead to contemplate whether I want one of these for my birthday or something more practical like this. And my wife thinks this is too big and clunky (but eminently more acceptable to her taste than this). I know for certain I’ll be headed down to the Louisiana Music Factory for a copy of this for somebody to wrap up for me.

Misanthrope Freeway, One Mile… May 23, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, art, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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“What do you mean, ‘That was nice?’ That was art. Art isn’t nice.”
— Macheath (Mack the Knife) in the Threepenny Opera

I’m in a mood. Humor me. If you can’t come and buy me a drink somewhere, at least sit back and vid this while I consider the consequences of pouring out a tumbler of the amber rambler. Just be glad I spared you the Marilyn Manson version.

On second thought, don’t come buy me a drink tonight. Buy me one tomorrow at the Rock N Bowl for Renard Poche’s show at 11.

Glad we got that, uh, straightened out May 13, 2008

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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Gay rodeo undermines sexual stereotypes

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters Life!) – Philadelphia’s gay community sought to dispel some sexual stereotypes when it held the city’s first gay rodeo.

About 50 contestants roped steers, cracked whips, and wrestled cattle to the ground during the weekend in an attempt to prove to themselves – and the rest of the world – that they are just as capable of tackling a traditionally macho sport as their straight counterparts…

Glad we got that, uh, straightened out.

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I wonder if there were any Indians involved in this Wild West Show, or if any a them rodeo cow-pokes was in the navy? To some people rum, sodomy and the lash probably sounds, well, electrifying. Ok, I need to stop before I get stomped on by the Politically Correct Police. I really should leave the snark to Professionals like These, especially since I can’t think of an awful pun involving motorcycles and leather.

I just hope Philadelphia survives the next hurricane season.

When I can’t find anything I’m motivated to write about in New Orleans, it occurs to me that Odd is not a local specialty dish. Just think of this as a big old Hoagie with Extra Odd, dressed or whatever it is y’all do up there. Maybe undressed. I don’t really want to know.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled life already in progress, even as you fritter it away on the intertubes.

Same As It Ever Was April 22, 2008

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Same as it ever was…

h/t to dsb of bark, bugs, leaves and lizards.

A New Dance Craze Sweeps The Nation April 22, 2008

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Today, I have never been prouder to be an …


… Orleanian.

What, did you think I was going to say American? Bwahahahaha! Hell, I’m not sure Il Dufe and I are the same species, much less willing to admit to being part of any country that would have this dolt as its leader. There seems to be something vaguely Neanderthal about him, some suggestion of an evolutionary wrong turn. Sure, he has a certain cunning strength, but he can’t seem to strike two rocks together in quite the right way. It’s like trying to move furniture through a tight spot with my in-laws certain people. At some point you begin to see in them a not very promising line of hominid confronting a coconut and a rock, perplexed as to what to do next. You can’t quite figure out how their lineage survived the stone age.

Oh, and George: FYYFF.

Like I said before: Tell him to send his wife instead. At least she has the grace to bring something when she shows up uninvited

Up from the Underground April 20, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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Good evening, this is reel three of the Underground Weekend. See the Underground Man below as to what has prompted this. These posting may make more sense starting with Underground Man and reading up in order. Or they may not make sense at all.

Sunday Mornings long ago, back from a night in the underground of quarter rats who peopled Decatur Street after dark (a time I once described in a poem with the line: “we lived as we read and gladly would have died of it”, thinking of Bukowski); a morning listening to the music at the Episcopal Church next door on Esplanade (now grown famous for it’s dedication to local musicians); coffee dark as tar and an early morning cigarette listening to the French horn solo from the open windows not 10 feet from my patio seat, dreaming of all tomorrow’s parties.

The Underground does not live exclusively in the dark. It is all around you, even if you think you’ve grown old and lost the thread. Going for your Sunday paper tomorrow you may pass someone just back from The Underground (his flashing eyes! his floating hair!) just bursting with a story to tell, if only you had the match they asked for, had a reason to linger and listen.

This concludes reel three and the Underground weekend. Tomorrow we return to the counting house.

Hey, white boy, what you doin’ uptown? April 19, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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It’s Saturday, April 18 and this is reel two of the Underground Weekend.

The line of this song that resonates with memory is “Hey, white boy, what you doin’ uptown?” I have absolutely no familiarity with what the rest of this song is about. I swear. I mean, I got kids I’m raising in this town, so I’m not telling any stories. The line reminds me of our frequent stops long ago on Claiborne Avenue near the Magnolia for some 3 a.m. chicken at what we used to call the Project Popeyes. We would stumble in, white as altar boy gowns, reeking of smoke and of liquor for a quick dark, spicy, rice to finish off a loveless night. We used to get some looks wandering in there, but one of the useful things you can pick up reading Carlos Castaneda–other than a superficial knowledge of plant pharmacology–is the concept of fearlessness. Ah, to be young and invincible and free from any preconceptions about what might happen next. To be living in the Underground.

Fearlessness, it seems, is incompatible with the burdens we take on in this world. A family with children? A mortgage to keep a roof over their head? The lesson I take at 50 from Castaneda is that a warrior must be impeccable, which proves to be much harder than fearless, more work and much less fun. Here in the Ersatz Underground we still have a little of the freedom that fearlessness requires.

This ends reel two of the Underground weekend. The next reel will be tape three. No, Peter, you may not post Sunday Morning as your SMV, as that will be tape three.

Cannibal Creole April 15, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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And now for something completely odd and pointless This one is for Micheal Homan, who seems to have this thing about cannibals rattling around in his head. How about some long cochon du lait? Hey, don’t blame me. Blame Our New Anne Rice" (just kidding).

How many cannibals could your body feed?
Created by OnePlusYou

And death shall have no dominion April 3, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, Bloggers, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, New Orleans Saints, NOLA, Odds&Sods, We Are Not OK.
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morris.jpg

For Ashley Morris 1963-2008
All New Orleans mourns for you.

By Dylan Thomas
And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan’t crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

Ashley Morris April 3, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, Odds&Sods, We Are Not OK.
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UPDATE: Click here to donate to the Ashley Morris Memorial Fund to help out Hanna and the kids.

Update 03-21-10: This post seems to be getting a lot of hits, so when you’re done reading the links eulogizing Ashley Morris, stop by this post to read about the character based on Ashley, played by John Goodman, who will be featured in David Simon’s Treme.

—————————————————————————————————-

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

It is not right that the fuckmooks should live and Ashley should not. There is no person alive who loved this city more than he. No one.

He leaves behind his wife Hana and three small children: Katerina, Anabel, and Rey d’Orleans.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

More later. here and here and here and here and here.

Ray was one of Ashley’s closest friends here. By all means read his memorial.

And this:

ashleytattoo.jpg

Another update: Ashley, you glorious mofo, you have two-and-a-half times the hits Al Copeland got when I wrote about his passing.

More Here: Never Let The Fire Go Out


Update 6-14-10:
Interesting. “Fuck, fuck, fuck” was the text message I sent two people last night just as the Treme charcter Creighton parks his car down by the river. Just for the record: Creighton Burnette is a composite of several people who were the basis for creating a fictional character. While FYYFF and the series opening rant were pure Ashley Morris, it would be a mistake to conflate the man with the fictional character. For more on the Creighton character, visit the Back of Town blog.

Al Copeland: Another giant little man passes into Louisiana history March 25, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, postdiluvian, Remember, Toulouse Street, Uncategorized.
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Al Copeland was New Orleans through-and-through, a character who could as easily come from the pen of John Kennedy Toole as out of old Arabi. He was one with the rogues’ pantheon that would have to include Dudley LeBlanc and perhaps John Schwegmann, men with enough ego to stand up and make perfect fools of themselves while laughing all the way to the bank. Like LeBlanc and Schwegmann, he has passed into history and myth.

From a little chicken-shack on St. Claude to the manse on Folse Drive, Copeland bestrode his city like a paper-maché Carnival colossus rocking down Veterans Boulevard atop a flashing triple-decker float. He raced world class offshore speedboats, flitted about in his “chicken copter” and his Maserati, and caught and released trophy wives like a tournament fisherman.

The closest I ever got to Al was watching him and his lieutenants go over customer comment cards after the monthly Popeytes manager’s breakfast, held at the hotel where I did banquet work in college. He would shush and chase us off if we tried to clear tables once that intense meeting started, so we would not disturb their pursuit of chicken perfection. I saw him close up again at the lakefront when a connection to my girlfriend’s family came to town with their own offshore racing boat (Still Crazy was it’s name, and I still have a grease-stained t-shirt somewhere). We could not, however, manage to finagle our way into the racing teams party out on Copeland compound on Folse Drive.

Al brought us the sort of spice we like, whether it was in a bucket with two sides and biscuits or on the six o’clock news. We all like to chatter about the older musicians passing on, but a big piece of New Orleans just checked out with Al. How many more little guys like him will the homogenized, box-box economy of the nation to north let rise up among us? We may never see his likes again.

Instead the comfortably milquetoast, Perlis-attired, revenant anti-Long sorts that fill the pages of Gambit with their advertisements are what remains to us, people out-of-state investment bankers are comfortable having lunch with at Galatoires, thinking they are slumming in wicked old New Orleans. They will bring Borders to St. Charles and Nike Factory Stores to Mid-City; Moloch will roll out the big Targets and little Starbucks like a stinking volcanic mudslide, obliterating everything in its path.

A little bit of us all died with Al, and if we aren’t careful soon all that will remain to differentiate us from Atlanta will be our broken and littered roads rolling beneath the faded beads dangling in the branches of the winter trees.

Kudos to KamaAina for catching my O’typo on Toole’s name. Oh, for an editor!

What more can I add about Al Copeland’s passing March 24, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, food, New Orleans, NOLA, oddities, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street, Uncategorized.
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except, perhaps, this addy for Popeyes in Korea?

I think the giant yellow chicken is contemplating invading Japan and using his Fiery Cajun Breath to take on Godzilla while leveling half of Tokyo (The Model, 1:400 scale with child safe “no-sniff” cement)

Actually, I have a few things to say but that will have to wait for later.

The internets are a frightening place March 14, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Geek, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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No, not because of the people who daily search for “men gone wild” and end up here. No, rather it is that He has Followers. And He Who Shall Not Be Named Because He Uses a Goofy Screen Name. And, most frightening of all, so do I. Ah, the ways that the Geeknoscenti find to fritter (or should that be twitter) away time waiting for our Web 3.0 implants

St. Joseph the Worker March 7, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, CBD, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street, Uncategorized.
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It looks like I’m going to be hunkered in the bunker down here at the sketchy end of the CBD all weekend, making the large financial institution that employs me that much larger. If you’ve never integrated two company’s complex business and IT systems all in a weekend, lucky you. I’ve been down this road before and it is more fun than running a gauntlet of drunken, club-wielding Cossacks while singing hava nagila, but not by much.

Part of the fun of this exercise is that large organizations which have embraced Modern Project Management are full of people for whom what should be (and is for me) a practical discipline has become a sort of obscure religion with more and no less onerous rules than Leviticus and a daily program of ritual meetings that rivals monastic life, governed by that dysfunctional Book of Hours, Microsoft Project.

One good thing about being at the end, aside from a year-long slog being nearly over, is that the early program of setting entirely unreasonable deadlines without even consulting the people who have to meet then, and then suggesting that we will never know if we can meet then until we try, is behind us. At one time I was near the point of hog-tying some of the main office’s PMs and dragging them up to the roof and informing them that we’re were going to determine if they could fly. You never know for sure, I wanted to tell them, until you try.

One benefit of this event is that I get to book a room for catnaps at a nearby hotel where there are, I am told, frequently a lot of other working people. Unfortunately, most of them do not work for large financial institutions; well, maybe their customers do, but I’d rather not know. I just hope they keep it down in the next room.

The short version is: I guess I’m going to miss out on all the St. Josephs’ Altars this weekend. If you get by one, snag me a fava bean. Oh, and St. Joseph the Worker, pray for us.

joseph2.jpg

N.B. St. Joseph the Worker’s feast is actually not until May 1, and is probably intended to give good Catholics something to do on May 1 other than march in parades secretly orchestrated by some neo-Trotskyists with a clever front name. I think Trotskyists would be a lot more fun if they dressed like the Knights of Columbus or lawyers going to the Red Mass. Maybe then we could get in an extra parade weekend, if Mayday weren’t smack in the middle of Jazz Fest.

Old No. 745 March 3, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street, Uncategorized.
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I last saw the steam engine Southern Pacific No. 745 out the window of my wife’s hospital room at Ochsner Hospital, parked on a siding just across Jefferson Highway. At the time, I did not make a connection between the locomotive and cars I saw there and the black behemoth I used to clamber on as a child at Audubon Park, but I learned that it is one and the same.

745park1.jpg

While I lived away, the steam engine was purchased from the park by a group and restored to working order. Now a thief has stolen the engine’s steam whistle and it will not roll again until a replacement can be found.

We Have Come For Your Children March 1, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, art, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, music, New Orleans, NOLA, oddities, Odds&Sods.
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We will set them free.

Fun with Manikins February 23, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, music, New Orleans, Odds&Sods.
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Shine On You Crazy Diamonds…

Sun Ra Does Disney February 17, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Jazz, New Orelans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street, Uptown.
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Like, whoa.

By all reports, neither Sun Ra nor Frank Zappa did drugs. Some people clearly did not need them to get to that special place. Anyway, no apologies necessary to Mr. Disney for whoever synced up Sun Ra playing “Pink Elephants on Parade”. Consider it revenge for my inability to listen to certain pieces of music without Mr. D’s cartoon intruding. (Not that I diskliked Fantasia, but if you had small children in the era of the VCR or later and watched it a couple of hundred times…..

The Land of Creamy Beans February 13, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Rebirth, Toulouse Street.
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It is not necessarily the big moments, the arrival of the Krewe of St. Anne at Frenchman or the first steps onto the Fairgrounds at Jazz Fest, in which I find myself most perfectly at home in New Orleans. Rather it is in the little moments that make up life here, the odd bits of life in New Orleans that are the sub-title of this blog.

In the months that have passed since I rolled over the Causeway on Memorial Day 2006 some of the sense of wonder at being here after a 20-years’ absence has been replaced by the commonplace that I am, in fact, home in New Orleans. Most days I drive down the usual routes — Carrollton Avenue, say — and it is as if I had never left, had never walked out of one home and turned down the street to view the Capitol rising down Massachusetts Avenue North East, or bundled up in the foyer of a Fargo, N.D. home to go out and shovel snow off of my driveway.

There is a familiar parade of sights–Brocato’s and Venizia, Jesuit High School, the Rock ‘N Bowl in the mostly unchanged strip mall where my mother once purchased our school clothes at the D.H. Holmes discount store; crossing the Palmetto Canal, then past the seminary to the leonine pillars at Pritchard Place and the arches at Fountainbleau and then I’m in Carrollton: passing Palmer Park to where the restaurant names change but the buildings stay pretty much the same.

And them I’m rolling home like a small boat in a light swell, dodging potholes like a river pilot navigating sandbars. I might look up from the traffic and see on one hand the branches of a row of oak tree branches extended over the streets like the hand of a priest murmuring a blessing over a small child; on the other side, a procession of the bowed shapes of palm trees slouching on the neutral ground like women waiting to cross, the trunks in the arc of a body with a hand on one hip pushing the other out in a saucy pose, the crowning leaves like an elaborate Sunday crown. And then, the odd bit: something as simple and strange as a man standing like a saintly scarecrow, arms out and hands filled with breadcrumbs, his body covered with pigeons.

At that moment I almost expect to hear a shout of azione! and see Marcello Mastroianni stride into a scene suddenly reduced to black and white, raincoat draped over his shoulders and a cigarette hanging from his lip. He is watched intently by man with a high, furrowed brow and a full, combed-back haircut last seen in a faded photo on the wall of Brocato’s, who peers at the scene over a cameraman’s shoulder. The bird man in a fabulous landscape of trees receding into infinity is reduced to the backdrop of something more than the merely fantastic, becomes part of a pattern that is as comfortable with the irrational as any other state. It feels as if I have been tipped out of a cart, transported away from my routine commute between Carrollton and Mid-City and into a sound stage bounded only by the imagination, arriving suddenly and without warning in the New Orleans of dreamy dreams.

Some days the moments are not quite as mystical but are instead as perfectly New Orleans as any instant could be. Last Sunday as I was taking down the Mardi Gras beads I had wrapped the columns in front of the house with I hear a sound I at first feared might be gun shots. Then two children with drum heads and sticks marched side-by-side up Olympia Street to the corner of Toulouse, beating a march time. They were led by a third child in front with a whistle and, from the motions he made with his arm and the way he rocked his head first one way and then the other while tilted back on his shoulders, an imaginary drum major’s staff and feathered hat. He would blow a few notes on his whistle and the drummers would answer with a few beats of the drum, over and over in perfect parade order. They marched into the middle of the intersection, and with a wave of the imaginary staff and a long, shrill whistle burst, they stopped. The leader, after some pointing and prodding and appropriate huffing on the whistle, got them turned around and they marched off back up Olympia: tweet, tweet, tweet, DUM da dum dum; tweet tweet tweet, DUM da dum dum…

I looked at the beads in my hand after they had vanished, shaking my head slowly and smiling as I silently reminded myself: no where else, man, no where but .

Dancing Bear February 10, 2008

Posted by The Typist in art, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, oddities, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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Dancing Bear
A fellow New Orleans blogger left a comment asking about the Dancing Bear tag on my posts. It’s an old, old nickname, predating the adoption by the Grateful of the dancing teddy bear icon by several years, although I am almost enough of a fan to consider myself a head (notice “cryptic envelopment tag on some posts also usually tagged “Odds&Sodds”). While I am rather hirsute (except at the very top) I am straight, so it’s not about that kind of Bear either. It is instead a reference to Captain Kangaroo that I picked up in my early teens. (No, I am not about to tell that story, although it’s fairly harmless. No, Jeff, Bear will not dance.)

Strange how childhood nicknames stick. My mother-in-law used to be aghast when I called my son buddy. “That’s how people get those horrible nicknames,” she complained. Well, I rather liked the two Buddy’s I’ve known, so I wasn’t too worried about it. And it didn’t stick. Dancing Bear, however, has stuck for a certain circle of friends, and it’s usually shortened to Bear.

As to the picture above, if you’re thinking of getting me something extravagant for my birthday, I definitely can not afford one of these lovely Inuit Dancing Bear sculptures offered at Siverston Gallery, but after being Dancing Bear for a third of a century I’d love to have one.