Saturday, May 31, 2008
We're sitting here right now in a sweat-dripping brick-and-mortar slave-quarter apartment in 90-plus degree heat and humidity. Sure, we've got ceiling fans, but we're also running three stand-up fans. The third one is one I went out and bought today, a little industrial-strength floor model that's training it's currents on Bobby's flared-open robe downstairs in the living room.
But I need to get me some A/C. So if you're interested in taking me out to some nice, dumpy dive with cool running air, hit me up. I'm a cheap drunk. Won't cost you much. I'll even hold up my side of the conversation.
And that's saying a lot.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Personally, I feel I can guiltlessly rejoin the passing parade and concentrate on Gertrude Stein and a Companion again. I've recast Alice - my original had conflicts with other projects she was working on - and I'm happy with and excited by my second choice, Lisa Davis. She and Karen, our Gertrude, have a nice chemistry and play well together.
This play is going to be lovely.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
President Bush “convinces himself to believe what suits his needs at the moment,” and has engaged in “self-deception” to justify his political ends, Scott McClellan, the former White House press secretary, writes in a critical new memoir about his years in the West Wing.Reminds me ... rats ... sinking ship ... Isn't there a connection?
In addition, Mr. McClellan writes, the decision to invade Iraq was a “serious strategic blunder,” and yet, in his view, it was not the biggest mistake the Bush White House made. That, he says, was “a decision to turn away from candor and honesty when those qualities were most needed.” ...
He is harsh about the administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina, saying it “spent most of the first week in a state of denial” and “allowed our institutional response to go on autopilot.” Mr. McClellan blames Mr. Rove for one of the more damaging images after the hurricane: Mr. Bush’s flyover of the devastation of New Orleans. When Mr. Rove brought up the idea, Mr. McClellan writes, he and Dan Bartlett, a top communications adviser, told Mr. Bush it was a bad idea because he would appear detached and out of touch. But Mr. Rove won out, Mr. McClellan writes. ...
Mr. McClellan does not exempt himself from failings — “I fell far short of living up to the kind of public servant I wanted to be” — and calls the news media “complicit enablers” in the White House’s “carefully orchestrated campaign to shape and manipulate sources of public approval” in the march to the Iraq war in 2002 and 2003.
When I logged that "Intermission" post last Friday, I was expecting to be devoting a lot of my time to watching over Bobby. I'd brought him back from the hospital on Tuesday after the replacement of a fractured lead in his defibrillator. Over the next few days I watched him sink into a lethargy and slowly start the old song and dance of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. By Saturday, he asked to speak to my brother Russell who works in healthcare, and Russell's opinion was that we get him back to the hospital. He explained that the dehydration and weight loss could cause Bobby's weakened electrolytes to trigger or induce a cardiac event. Something like that. (Or as Bobby put it later to his ER doctor, "I'm scared my electric lights will turn on my defibrillator again.")
They started him on IV's again and kept him there. During the day Sunday, they ran tests and determined he had a low blood count. Sunday evening, they gave him two units of blood. Monday morning, more tests. But no results as of now.
I'm getting aggravated with the doctors. They know so much, of course, more than any of us could every fully comprehend. But it's as if when they finally get those magical two-letters to add to their names, they believe they have all knowledge. There's no point in listening to what the patient might tell them. The machines and the fluid tests tell them everything they need to know. Why consider what the patient might have to say?
To my mind, when Bobby says, I can't eat because I'm nauseous, and then throws up what he's just forced down, he's pointing me in a direction where I maybe should go to find the cause of his problem and a possible solution.
But what do I know?
I'm just worried and scared and helpless. And I hate being helpless.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Next week's challenge: Friday, May 30, 2008.
Kykops (sadly sober) offers us his morning joe. And Bud is carrying on with the "melting" theme.
Then there's Dave. Dave, Dave, Dave, who's escaped the sweltering heat and storms to run up to the breezy wilds of Appalachia for one of those Peace-Corps-reunion-cum-wedding things he's always slipping away to, offers us a lovely pink potty pot. Thanks, Dave, but I've been seeing quite enough of those lately.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
At three, I'll be attending a meeting with To Do Production's executive producer and the musical director for our upcoming production of Thrill Me. I'm excited to be working with this guy (his name's Jim Walpole) because he's excited by the show's score.
I'm not sure what we're going to be talking about, although I can bet a lot of it will have to do with who we can get to sing these songs. I've played the CD for some of the actors I know who all decided to pass on the opportunity of trying out for us. They don't dislike the music, but they don't believe they can carry the load of this score.
And I don't get it. What are they afraid of? When I was young enough to have played one of these roles, I wouldn't have given a damn if I could sing the songs as long as I had the opportunity of playing Dickie Loeb. (I was much too attractive to have pulled off Nathan Leopold. That was then. Now is a different story.)
The music sounds strange to them. And this points up something I've discovered about the younger generation of New Orleans performers. They have no history.
Let me rephrase that, what histories they have are personal. Their histories begin with their discovery of their own consciousness. They know little to nothing about what went before.
Now, if they're actors who've been to college, they know the theatrical canon, but nothing about the centuries-long progression from two men stepping out into a Greek amphitheatre to sing lines of dialogue to each other - to the obscenities of Roman comedy - to the Mystery Plays of the Middle Ages - to the panoply of the Elizabethans - to the Restoration's revelation of actresses (!) - to the Victorian actor-managers. They may have seen some movies with Olivier. They've probably seen Gielgud in Arthur. They don't know Muni, Cagney, Gish, or Garbo. Booth, the Lunts, Cornell, Laurette Taylor are foreign words to them.
There's no there there.
Our community's musical performers are even worse. They know to sing out, Louise, to fling out their arms, and to snap their heads back to catch the light. They know the musical comedies of the last mid-century, but then they leapfrog over Sondheim to rest in Lloyd Webber's ample arms.
So what am I doing doing this?
Just a glutton for punishment, I guess.
Now, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah, leaving Bobby alone this afternoon.
Anybody want to sit with him?
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Adrastos is spreading a rumor that the Burger King drag queen has been busted. Now, the story isn't confirmed, but if it turns out to be true, I'll be really disappointed. I'd so wanted her to be like - oh, I don't know - like D. B. Cooper or Jack the Ripper or somebody else like that: always out there, never apprehended, creeping around in our idle thoughts and dreams for all time to come.
Was that too much to ask?
New Orleans' first bicycle lane opened Tuesday, taking riders through neighborhoods scarred by poverty and Hurricane Katrina but also representing the kind of progressive thinking planners hope will bring people back to hard-hit areas.
The 3-mile white-striped path winds along St. Claude Avenue, through the Lower 9th Ward and to the St. Bernard Parish line, past areas slowly recovering from the August 2005 storm.
Now the whole world knows. What'll they say when some 18-wheeler mows down its first cyclist?
"Scared of what?"
"But scared why? They've exchanged the defective lead. Everything should be fine now."
"They changed one lead, not the two of them."
"But the other one was fine."
"For how long?"
"There was no indication there was anything wrong with the other lead."
"But I don't trust the machine anymore. I don't have any faith in it."
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
"My defibrillator's going off."
And it's 911 and EMT's and back to an emergency room all over again.
By late last night, the doctors had decreed that he was fine, but his Medtronics device was faulty and needed a new lead. It was encountering interference (like white noise or something), interpreting that interference as an irregularity in Bobby's heartbeat, and firing off electrodes into his heart in response. Also, by then, by late last night, they had figured out how to turn off the bastard so it would stop doing its lifesaving thing.
Right, the defibrillator's firings continued for several hours into the night even while Bobby was in the ER.
So. Today, Bobby's back in Touro Infirmary for observation and monitoring throughout the weekend. On Monday, his doctors hope to go back into his chest and replace the defective lead.
I don't like not being in control, not being able to fix something with my own two hands. I don't like being helpless and forced into a state of utter passivity while other people, strangers, do their jobs, jobs whose motions I don't understand.
I don't like seeing Bobby scared and struggling to mouth some soothing old Catholic prayers in between volts of electricity.
I don't like having to face our neighbors and friends, who are concerned and hopeful and trying to be helpful, and attempt to explain and define what is happening to Bob.
It's funny. What I really want to do is to run away from home. But for now, I'm just too tired.
Friday, May 16, 2008
On the other hand, Fridays probably feel like Saturdays to me because I don't particularly care for Fridays and would like to get them out of the way. And the reason for that is that when I sit at my computer to retrieve my email and to read my RSS feeds, I find myself inundated with the theatre-review ejaculates of the the Times-Picayune.
Today was a particularly good day for some of the locals.
One encomium was reserved for the children's play just mounted in the Quarter. I can't bring myself to see that one.
It's not what you think. I just wouldn't be comfortable being a single adult male attending a children's play in this day and age. But then the people of the company producing it don't yet qualify as adults in today's society anyway. So that's okay.
Another show getting a verbal bukkake this morning features an actor I've directed three times before in a new role directed by a friend of mine.
They're doing this in a new space they hope to make successful.
What's that phrase about starting a successful business venture? "Location, location,location."
I feel I now may be too old to venture that far out to the edge of the Quarter. People get mugged or murdered there. Or maybe that's just an urban myth at this moment in time in New Orleans, but it's too strong a myth for easy dismissal.
Besides, I've heard they lock the theatre door when the play begins.
The director tells me it's a feeble lock - easily broken. But, being claustrophobic, I'd hate to find myself making a scene and stealing Thor's thunder. Is there perhaps another door that remains available? I'll have to ask. I mean, if that's the case, I can always spring for a cab and run quickly in and out.
Otherwise, I'll just occupy myself with playing TiVo-catchup with my Law and Orders, CSI's, and Mediums. And, in between, I'll continue reading Charmed Circle, the first real book I've picked up since I retired.
My loss perhaps. But don't feel sad for me. Age teaches us the inevitability of loss and the simple pleasures to be found in what we have at hand.
May my comrades relish their raves from our major rag. They've worked hard to get them.
Worked. Very. Hard.
Bud's up and about with crazy cats. Where did "cats" come from? Not that they haven't got 'tude, mind you.
Again with "cats"? I don't know any cats.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin told an audience Thursday that helping the city's growing homeless population is one of his top priorities. Then he offered what he later said was a "tongue-in-cheek" solution to the problem: One-way bus tickets out of town.
Nagin was responding to a question from an audience member during a panel discussion sponsored by the American Association for Public Opinion Research. The panel also included former White House hurricane recovery chief Donald Powell and Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu.
A woman in the audience asked the panelists to name groups worthy of donations to aid in the city's recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Nagin said homelessness was a top concern and named two groups -- the New Orleans Mission and UNITY of Greater New Orleans -- as worthy of her consideration.
The mayor said the city has an estimated 5,000 to 12,000 homeless people, many of whom came here looking for jobs after Katrina struck in August 2005.
"I'm not suggesting that they were dumped here, but we have a lot of people from a lot of different places around the country, and you may be helping one of your citizens. Maybe we can even find some bus tickets. We'll see. One way," Nagin said, drawing laughs from audience members.
After the panel discussion, Nagin said he was "just kidding around."
Sometimes, you've just got to stop all this "kidding around" and get down to work.
So early, early this morning, I pulled myself out of bed and went and took some photos in the patio.
Everything's askew today, and I don't have a reason why.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
One of my favorites tops the list:
... you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on. –Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable (1953; trans. Samuel Beckett)One of my other all time favorite made it to number 4:
... I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. –James Joyce, Ulysses (1922)Check it out. I'm just sorry I didn't catch wind of this sooner.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has decided to formally support Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama and has pledged his vote as a superdelegate to the frontrunning candidate, sources on Tuesday told WDSU NewsChannel 6.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Now playing: Tony Bennett & k.d. lang - What A Wonderful World
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
- Got Bobby out of the hospital and back home
- Conducted a rehearsal last night before tracking down a quart of orange juice to bring back to him. He didn't drink any of it.
- Went - at his urging - to a late-evening cast party in honor of local thespian W. Grant Gray so I could bring him home a plate of food. I did it. He didn't eat any.
- Went this morning to my doctor for my regular check up. Bobby came along for the ride, then followed me into the examination room. Once the doctor came in, Bobby proceeded to tell him that I smoke and eat too much, couldn't he give me a pill to stop me from doing that?
- I managed to mention to the doctor that I'd been having chest pains for about two weeks, and I was a little concerned [sic]. My doctor looked me in the eye. He looked at Bob. He turned back to me and said, "It's probably nothing, but we'll check it out."
- The EKG returned a normal result. Doctor decided the pain might just be muscle strain from lifting and moving heavy plants for Bobby. He gave me some samples of muscle relaxers.
You know what? Everybody should relax their muscles sometime.
PS - Sorry I missed the weekly photo challenge. I've been busy. Is it my turn to name the next one? Let me know, and I'll think of something. In the meantime, my body is walking in space. Be back soon.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
(He'll hate me for writing that, but since he's feeling good enough to start fussing at me again, I say, karma's a big fat bitch, Bobby. Everybody knows now you're full of shit.)
However, they've tried a new medication to treat that, something like a prescription version of Metamucil. And it looks like it might do the trick.
They should be loosing him on the world soon. You've been forewarned. Seek shelter.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
But Keith, though, being the kind of investigative person that he is, made it a point to read the program from cover to cover to make up for the loss of the performance. He was the one to discover that I had been credited in the production list.
Yep, there I was in black and white, all caps, listed as "DIRECTOR, PHOTOGRAPHER." And I thought, Shit.
You see, I took the photographs the theatre is using. I was at a few rehearsals. But at no time did I ever offer any direction. There were five other people around doing that!
All the local critics went to the show on Saturday night. Do you wanna lay bets who's gonna get panned? Just wait. Mark my words.
"Lots of eye candy on stage, but [name withheld] doesn't know what to do with it ..."On a happier note, Bobby's continuing to do well. He's off the sauce ... um, I mean the IV soup of dextrose, and is holding his own against the diabetes without the assistance of the pharmaceutical industry. He was hoping to come home today, but that ain't gonna happen just yet. We'll save the anniversary crap till later.
"The lead handled his big speeches with all those big words in them with aplomb, but got no further assistance from [name withheld] ..."
"Why didn't [name withheld] get these actors to speak up so we could hear them? ..."
"[Name withheld]'s blocking was boring, boring, boring. And that set? More boring, boring, boring. And it's all his fault ..."
And so on.
Anniversaries aren't guy things anyway.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Don't let him know I posted this picture.
Only one more night to party.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
In the meantime, the nurses are withholding the "new little pill", shooting him up with dextrose instead, and plying him with cookies. He's even getting mashed potatoes and white bread for his lunches and dinners.
He's in good spirits and is looking healthier than he did last night.
After he told me to go on home, I found myself on O'Keefe Avenue heading for the Quarter. As I approached Julia Street, I notice what appeared to be some kind of accident on the corner. As I approached, I came upon two vehicles side by side with people milling about.
Between them lay a body on the asphalt. It appeared to be a man. He was very white and covered in patches of blood. His arms and legs were folded into positions that we cannot fold them into. The people around him looked like they were in shock. Some were crying. One young man was patting the prone man's head with a towel. There were no police, no medics, just this silent group of witnesses and the rest of us, driving on to wherever we were going.
When I woke up around five, I looked over to see him looking back at me with what seemed to be only a third of himself showing in his eyes.
"Are you all right?" I asked him.
He didn't answer.
"Bobby," I said. "Bobby. What's wrong?"
He focused on me, paused, and said, "What?"
"I said, what's wrong?"
"I don't know."
"Can you stand up?"
"Yes." But he didn't move.
I went to him and noticed that his eyes followed me in stages, always a step or two behind my movements. I touched his face. It was cold and clammy. And wet. His whole body was soaking wet. The barcalounger was puddled with his sweat.
Something was happening, and I didn't know what.
I asked him to follow my finger from side to side. He could do that. I asked him to stick out his tongue. He stuck it out straight. I asked him when he was born. He knew the answer to that. I didn't ask him who was president because, well, let's face it, who the hell knows.
I got him to stand up, but he was shaky, so I put him back down.
I told him I thought I needed to call for an ambulance.
He said, "What's happening?"
I told him I didn't know. That's why I wanted to get help. He was too weak and confused to argue with me, so I did it. I called 911.
Two EMT's arrived in a very short time, considering this was a late Friday afternoon in the French Quarter during the second weekend of Jazz Fest. As soon as they walked in and looked at Bobby, they asked if he was diabetic.
All I could think of was, thank God, this state he's in has a name. I don't know what it is yet, but it has a name.
"Has he eaten today?"
"Very little. I fixed him a breakfast of bacon and eggs, but he didn't touch it. He ate a few strawberries and a little bit of cauliflower, but that's it."
All the time I'm talking, they are checking his blood pressure and pricking his fingers to get blood to test in their little blood-sugar reader.
"His blood sugar's bottomed out. What hospital would you like us to take him to?"
I asked for Touro. Bobby likes it there. They explained that they may not be able to use that location since three other of their ambulances were already there and waiting for beds. What about University or Tulane? I opted for Tulane. University's not on my short list of favored healthcare facilities right now.
They got Bobby onto their gurney and hauled him out to the ambulance. Once inside, the lady EMT started an IV and shot him up with dextrose while the male EMT started calling hospitals looking for a bed.
Nothing was available in the city. There was not a bed in any emergency room in any New Orleans hospital. No emergency facility could take this case.
There was a bed at Ochsner's out in Jefferson. That's where they would go. I would follow. In the meantime, could I help them get his personal information after they moved the ambulance off the street so traffic could resume?
As they began to move their vehicle into a driveway, an ice cream vendor comes along, trying to walk past as the ambulance begins its move. This dude begins to berate the driver for getting in his way and cutting him off. He's getting all pissed while in the back of the "bus," Bobby is asking if he's dead.
"No, Bobby, you're not dead. You're in an ambulance."
"Did I made a scene?"
"No, Bobby, you didn't."
"I wish I'd made a scene. Am I dead?"
"No, Bobby. If you were dead, you wouldn't be talking to me. You'd be facing Jesus trying to come up with some bullshit excuse for the way you've treated me over the last thirty-something years."
He smiled at that.
Once I'd given them the information they needed, they were off. I ran back into the apartment to get his wallet, to get me into a pair of shoes and a clean shirt. My phone rang. It was the lady EMT calling to tell me a bed had opened at Touro, and that's where they'd be going.
I followed soon after in the rain and had no accident or run in with stupid drivers gaping at the historic buildings.
I got to the hospital, unscathed but unhinged, and found him in the emergency room. After five hours of his blood sugar running up and down like a 19th century coloratura trilling her scales, the doctors there decided he'd have to stay, at least overnight.
Throughout the rest of the night, his sugar level rode a roller coaster. The doctors still don't know what's wrong.
And my chest hurts. This is not what I signed up for on May 5th, 1976.
Friday, May 2, 2008
I'm beginning to feel all left behind. And you know what that means.
Well, whew, Bryan's in with something more traditional. I'm catching my breath back.
And, Bud has responded with an anti-roister post of a subdued Dave, looking all country-and-western-lonesome-he-could-cry. It's even got a railroad track in it.
Not to be outdone, a camera-less NOLA Cleophatra has combed her archives and come up with a bunch of crazy white people acting all roisterous.