Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Early This Morning

... And not a still from a Hitchcock film.

I Can't Take It Anymore

Since I never get to be HOH and call the shots, and winning the Power of Veto here would be a pointless exercise, I am giving up the ghost and doing everything I can to get myself nominated for eviction and voted out of the Big Brother House.

How did I even get roped into watching such shit?

I've never been a fan of reality shows, let alone so-called reality game shows, but Bobby loves 'em; and since I'm trying to spend more time with Bobby in the evenings - when I could be here with you - I'm finding myself also spending time with Jesse (the body-building narcissist who, last night, showed he couldn't manage to maneuver his bulk to figure out how to swing from a rope[!]), Ronnie (the pathetic, mentally-stunted, pussy-whipped Iago wannabe), and the rest of the gang, pissing away what's left of my mind.

I cannot understand why anyone would enjoy passing time with such a group of people who have come together to practice mankind's lowest form of social, back-stabbing behavior. Of course, the premise of the Big Brother franchise (at least, as it's practiced here in the good ole CBS-USA) is anything but social. Rather, it is anti-social, encouraging, as it does, individualism to the point of solitude. To collect the winnings, the winner must ultimately stand alone atop the mountain, having eliminated all housemates.

Consider that philosophy and carry it to its logical conclusion and ask yourself just what is it that the last human being left standing on the planet will possess the day after Armageddon? What good will it do him?

The show presents a looking-glass world, a bizarro world where values are turned upside down and inside out, where good is bad, strength is weakness, and their opposites prevail.

I won't participate in a world with such a value system. Not any more.

Not after the time I've put into the New Orleans community theatre scene.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Walk to Frenchmen Street and Back

1200 Decatur Street

1300 Decatur Street

Neutral Ground, Esplanade Avenue

Frenchmen Street at Rue Chartres

Friday, July 24, 2009

New Orleans

Uptown, looking down toward the skyline.

On Being Appreciated

It don't get much better than this. (I'm in there somewhere. You've gotta dig a little.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bobby and the Bloody Bladder

Here are two shots of Bobby in his private room at Touro Infirmary. That's right, he's been taking a time-out at his favorite spa again.

Seems late last week, he was beginning to pass a little blood in his urine, and when he mentioned this to his doctor, the doctor thought it might be a good idea for him to see a urologist. He made an appointment for Tuesday afternoon, but before he had a chance to keep it, he started having gushers that same morning here at home. Bobby called the urologist who told him something like, "Fool, get your ass to the hospital."

So we hauled tail.

The next day (yesterday), they did some tests and found a tumor in his bladder. They removed it, and believe they got it all, so things are looking good. We'll know by next week whether the tumor was benign or malignant. In either case, the doctors believe he's going to be fine.

We shot these pictures within an hour of the procedure. How many people do you know would be smiling like this after going through something like that? But Bobby, he just loves the attention. I think he's addicted to nurses.

(By the way, I also have some catheter pictures, but you'll have to pay to see those.)

Playing Tourist

You really can't help yourself sometimes. You find yourself stopped in your tracks by the sight of the intended view of the stage set that is your city, so you take the photo the set designers intended you to take. It's lovely.

But there is something to be said about seeing it all from the wings:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another Transitus

If anyone had come to me on the morning of the Fourth of July and told me that by the end of the day, I'd have taken a header on a city sidewalk and that that tumble would have sent me somersaulting down an existential rabbit hole, I'd have thought to myself, How cool.

How smug.

But then, that morning, I would have welcomed any adventure, thinking that adventures lead to great discoveries. I never reckoned on the cost of the adventure or the fact that the discovery might entail a loss, might even be a loss.

Aside from the expected loss of my two front teeth, which my fresh new dentist has confirmed and which I hope to have replaced long before the upcoming Christmas, there has also been a loss of vitality and a wavering submission to my inevitable decline, a glimpse through a dusty window into a future of feebleness and deterioration. I do not yet possess the grace to accept this outcome magnanimously.

I find it depressing.

But lately I've recalled a time when I was young and reading Jung and letting him fill my head with such malarkey as mandalas, archetypes, and active imagination. I remember a series of four dreams I had that helped me cross the metaphorical bridge from childhood to becoming an adult. There were losses I experienced then as well, as well as gains and the discovery of new muscles that would come to my aid in developing the new world I'd be inhabiting.

I find myself now on the cusp of another stage in life, one I'm not prepared to step onto, although the mourning of my past is overwhelming me right now.

I'll be all right in time. This is just how things work out, just me a little further down the road.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Graffiti on Decatur Street. I shot this yesterday on my way back home from picking up one of my (so far only two) little-old-man medicines.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sidewalks, Part Three

Gravel / Droppings

Peeling Paint

Wrought Work

I'm shooting pictures with some kind of desperate urgency these days. It's the only expressive outlet available to me, and I'm utilizing it manically.

If I'm not taking pictures, I have to spend time with myself, and I'm not good company right now. I seem to have taken a steeper tumble than I thought I had at first. The physical scratches may be drying up, and the aches are lessening, but my mind is wandering down some metaphorical corridors I would rather not be exploring.

Some years ago, a friend of mine went all rapturous on my ass and described the universe as a welcoming place.

Right now, I think he was full of shit.

However, I also believe that if I just keep making pictures, I'll pass through this place and come back out somewhere on the other side.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's a Lovely Evening

I spent a few hours at City Park a week-and-a-half ago. I took some photos. Wow, who would have guessed that I would publish them here?

I'm such an open book.

I also have a couple of photos of oak trees with Spanish moss hanging from their branches. I wish they were better photos, but that may not matter, since it is more important that moss continues to grow in Louisiana.

C'est la guerre!

The Hole Down Which I Toppled

Finally, yesterday, I managed to grab hold of my courage with both hands and make my way back to the site where I had tripped and smashed my face against the concrete on the evening of the Fourth of July. Behold the clutter of cracks that ensnared my feet and held them fast as I plummeted to the earth.

This morning, I met my new dentist for the first of many prosperous visits. He was delighted to make my acquaintance. I'll be sending his last-born to college and covering a third of her wedding expenses.

Making me fetching ain't gonna be pretty.

Val Kilmer Had Breakfast Here Once

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reserved Parking

It really is a reserved parking spot. Le Richelieu Hotel keeps several slots available in Jimmy Cahn's open-air parking lot across the street from their own lot. This is the first slot.

Recovery in Progress

I seem to be so disengaged from my life right now that I can barely conceive of anything of interest to write about. I'm not too concerned about this, and don't you be, because it's just part of the cycles I pass through. I suppose we all do.

In the meantime, I'm rebuilding.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Making the Best of Things

A friend (who does not live here) has inquired whether I intend to sue the City of New Orleans for the decrepitude of her sidewalks.

Do you know how much it hurts to laugh so hard?

Taking New Orleans to court is Sisyphean:
  • You sue.
  • You win.
  • You wait.
  • You die.
Sometimes it's better to just accept your fate. Besides, at my age, it's time I get new teeth. I'd love some interchangeable bridges for, like, you know, day or night wear, formal or lowdown.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Lessons of Healing

Mr. I. B. Self-Reliant here, checking in to see how the world's been doing since I stepped off of it for a few days to lick my wounds and tend to my pride.

I finally heard from my doctor today and found that I have no broken bones. I guess that means I can go out dancing tonight. Oh, wait, scratch that. My million-dollar smile isn't worth two-bits right now. Gotta get that taken care of first. I'll see a new dentist this Tuesday morning. I hope to survive to tell the tale.

I've learned something, though, from this experience. (Aren't you surprised?) Aside from the obvious moral that I am no longer invincible like I was when I was in my teens and twenties - that I am, as a matter of fact, pretty brittle and fragile -I learned that, as much as I would like to think of myself as a guy who stands on his own two feet, who doesn't need anybody doing for him, who can always take care of himself and the people who depend on him ... well, it all turns out to be bull. I'm as big a needy baby as the rest of you.

It got pretty lonely lying here in the Fortress of Solitude with only Bob for company, and I'm really grateful to those people who wouldn't leave me alone, who kept dropping comments here, or emails there, who even took time out to stop in and visit. All that meant a lot to me. I owe you, and I won't forget you.

So what's been happening while I was down and out?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

An Observation on How Things Happen Nowadays

One good thing about the Michael Jackson business (and it is a business): nothing bad will happen in the world today. It would never get on the news.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

It Was Inevitable

It's something that is probably going to happen sooner or later to each of us here in New Orleans. The night is warm to the touch. There's a breeze caressing the Quarter. It's walking weather, so we're walking down the street, content, unaware of what's ahead.

Then it happens.

The foot catches in some crevice of the sidewalk, and we plummet.

I fell last night. Face first. I saw the concrete as it approached my face. I believe I cracked a rib. I bled all over the place. I may lose a tooth. A front tooth. Maybe two.

I look like such a dude.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

So I Ended Up with This Big Red Dot on My Nose

It's a long story.

Let's start at the beginning.

I didn't intend to go play Ringo (don't call it "Bingo") at the Golden Lantern on Thursday night. The only reason I went was because Keith had told me the night before that he'd be there since Liz was leaving the next day to go to New York for the weekend. So it was Keith's fault I was there. Or maybe it was Liz's fault for leaving Keith with nothing to do so that he'd end up choosing me for company and cause me to be at the Ringo (not Bingo) game where I got into trouble.

But then Dave had something to do with it, too, cause when he showed up just as the Ringo (nee Bingo) game was about to start, Bobby took his red-dot ink bottle (what you use to mark your Ringo [yeah, not that] sheet with) and made like he was going to mark up Dave's face with it. The problem with Dave is that he likes his face getting all marked up, so he told Bob where to put the red-dot ink bottle, and that's where Bobby put it. On Dave's forehead between his eyebrows. Thus a precedent was established.

Finally, Lance the bartender having finished getting dressed up as a nun and finally ready to start calling out the Ringo numbers, it was time to start the game. Bobby told me to fork over a buck for a Ringo sheet and play. I told him I'd rather not.

He said, "Get a sheet. I'll play it."

I said, "That's illegal."

"It's not illegal. Get a sheet."

"You tried this last week. They told you it was one for one."

"Don't keep pushing this. Get a sheet. If you know what's good for you, get a sheet."

Knowing what was good for me, I broke down and got a sheet. But I intended to play it for myself. I wasn't going to be a part of one of Bobby's illicit schemes. I moved away and sat between Dave and Keith, removed the lid from my red-dot ink bottle, and got set, ready, and on my mark.

"O-34!" And we were off.

The numbers seemed to be coming in a rush. I couldn't scan my sheet fast enough, but Keith was nearby to do it for me. I don't understand how he was able to spot the numbers so quickly. I'd be just starting to pass my eyes down the column when he would lean over and tell me I had two or none of the numbers that Lance had just called out. I guess it's something to do with the way children are taught in schools today. When I was getting my grade school education, we were being taught to savor what we were reading. Nowadays, kids are taught to get in, grab hold of the meaning, and get out. I guess it accomplishes the same thing, but I don't know - it's so - what? - fast.

Anyway, with Keith's help, I was moving fast. Faster than Bobby was, and he was getting a little pissed about the situation. He was already peeved that I had challenged him to begin with, now his anger was swelling, swelling large and hard. I pounced.

You have to understand the difference between Bobby and me. Bobby's an only child, I'm the youngest of three sons. Bobby was the apple of his parents' eyes. I was the most recent addition. Bobby could do no wrong. My parents always knew what I was up to. Nobody messed with Bobby. I had two older brothers who held me down and tickled me till I peed myself. There's this societal difference between my world and Bobby's.

So I picked at him. I teased him. I joshed and jostled him. I made him look the fool. I never intended for him to get all bent and righteous. I mean, really, I've given my last thirty-three years to making sure he's all right, and now he wants me to play (illegal) Ringo (that "Bingo" game) by his rules so he can win a tee-shirt? Two sizes too big? Advertising some liqueur? In a color not advantageous to his own complexion?

Nevertheless, he got all bent and righteous.

And I felt really bad.

I went to the restroom with my red-dot ink bottle, faced myself in the mirror, and branded the red mark of shame on the center-peak of my nose. I thought this would restore my place in Bobby's estimation.

I was a fool. He treated me with disdain.

I hold to certain standards, (not to mention certain deathly fears) and those standards (and fears) dictated that I should leave the bar, walk home alone, and deal with my situation as it was developing. So I did.

I did it for the next twelve hours, during which I fell asleep and rested for the duration until I awoke again around 5 AM - alone, downstairs in the apartment, still dressed, alone, Bobby nowhere in sight, alone, cell phone gone, alone and surrounded by the darkness of a building under reconstruction.

I did what any lonely castoff would do.

I left.

I pulled on a fresh shirt and walked outside, my nose aglow. I walked all the way to the gate on Decatur Street where I stepped out onto the street and turned to the right. I walked as far as Jackson Square, with my nose burning red for all to see, before I turned to the left to the river and to the Riverwalk where I finally began to made my way back home (with a big red nose) where Bobby was now awaiting my arrival in the living room with a big red bowl of Cheerios.

It pays to be the strong and silent one, even with a red-dotted nose.

It also helps to have whatever it takes to relish the foolishness of going out with a camera, too. You can see some of the photographs I took of my early morning walk here. Otherwise, just let your mind wander.

The point, of course, to my taking pictures of my walk was that if anything had happened to me, there would be a record of malfeasance.

That's a sad thing to bear in mind, but the fact is, it has become a part of daily life. Like Hansel and Gretel, we have to leave a trail to cover and retrace our tracks. The world has become a frightening place - if we allow ourselves to be afraid.

Otherwise, we can always walk out onto an early-morning darkened street with our cameras, looking for interesting pictures, and smile at everyone who crosses our paths and say, "Hey, Dawg," and go on down another street, take a left, another left, and just go on and on ... where nothing bad will ever happen to us.

Old Glory

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