Saturday, June 26, 2010

Snapping Out of It

With a certain amount of trepidation, I stand near the edge of the murky piranha pool known as the New Orleans theatre scene. I've been spending quite a lot of my time away from those banks since Donnie Jay passed away, and I've learned that inertia can be a strange friend. Whereas many people associate it with forward momentum, that isn't what it means, or what it is, at all. It can mean standing still and dormant, too.

I certainly have been still and dormant for some months now.

That time is passing, however, as I find myself being circled by a band of marauders intent on squeezing me back out of my shell. It's scary.

I suppose that's why I found some strange comfort in this story I just read this morning:
In 1947, after two profitable films about priests (Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary's), Leo McCarey, a devout Roman Catholic, wanted to go back to the very beginning. He commissioned Sinclair Lewis to write a script about the Garden of Eden, set in Biblical times. The script was apparently less than perfect, but, years after the project was shelved, McCarey thought the problem lay in the casting. "The more you delve into it, the harder it is to find Adam," McCarey told Peter Bogdanovich. "Eve is much easier. … Why is that? I have brought the subject up at parties and the reaction varies completely." Jimmy Stewart and Ingrid Bergman were contenders at one point, but Stewart balked at wearing nothing but a fig leaf—because Bergman outweighed him. "The more I thought of it, however, he was right," McCarey said. "He's too thin."
Don't ask me why I find solace in the knowledge that Ingrid Bergman was bigger than Jimmy Stewart. I don't have a ready answer for that. But solace I do find. And I'll take my solace anywhere I can get it.

Though there is something about a big Swedish woman ...

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Weird. This is a picture of the Sixth Congressional District of the Sovereign and Independent Republic of Texas. This is the home district of Congressman Joe Barton. Looks oddly familiar ... like some place I might have seen somewhere before.

You know Joe Barton. Well, if you never knew him personally or ever even heard of him before, you certainly know who he is after this morning. He's the fool who took it upon himself to be more Republican than his Republican bosses and handlers and declared that the administration's decision to set up a BP-funded $20 billion fund to pay for damages from the oil spew in the Gulf was a shakedown.

Yeah, that Joe Barton.

He has since decided that running his mouth off that way was a mistake. I just saw a clip of him on CNN doing the fastest, smoothest, most intricate Texas two-step, clarifying for the record that he never, no, no, never, meant to imply that BP wasn't responsible or that BP shouldn't be made to pay through the ass for what they've done. No, indeed. What he meant to say was this:
"I want to be absolutely clear that I think BP is responsible for this accident, should be held responsible and should in every way do everything possible to make good on the consequences that have resulted from this accident," he said. "And if anything I said this morning has been misconstrued to the opposite effect I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction."
So there. It was all a misunderstanding, and we were the ones who misunderstood.

I commend whatever higher-ranking Republican it might have been who sat and waited for him in the hallway during a recess, caught him by the nape of the neck, and whisked him into the boys' room to give him a good ole-fashion Texas tanning. Asshole suck-up.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another Gratuitous Promotion

This evening at 6:00 PM, James Meredith (no, not that "James Meredith") will be disembarking from his Pullman sleeper onto the platform out front of the world-famous (at least, to my three readers) Golden Lantern.

There he will be signing copies of his new book (and debut novel), Will Wadsworth's Train to Nowhere. I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to getting my grubby hands on my own personal copy so that I will then have something decent to read instead of all those best-selling stories about Gulf crude and the millionaire robber barons of the twenty-first century.

Oh, gosh, I hope Jimmy will sign my Lionel caboose, as well!

Gratuitous Promotion

Some friends of mine are presenting this show down in the Marigny, beginning this week. I caught a rehearsal last Friday evening and found it funny as all heck. The cast is talented and inventive. The show itself is rollicking and witty.

Besides, it's less than three hours long and only costs $18.00 admission.

(PS, that's my photo of star Elizabeth Bouvier.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On Feeling Proud to be a 'Merican

Anybody see the President of the Disunited Sates of British Petroleum on the telly tonight? What a load of textbook platitudinous feel-goodism he spouted.

He said, "I’ve talked to shrimpers and fishermen who don’t know how they’re going to support their families this year."

What about next year? What about ten years from now, Mr. O?

He said, "We have approved the construction of new barrier islands in Louisiana to try and stop the oil before it reaches the shore ..."

Say what? After how many days (months) of spewing goop?

He said, "... we are working with Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida to implement creative approaches to their unique coastlines."

Oops, no mention of Louisiana there. We're sunk.

But in the meantime, this administration is forming new committees, even as we speak, to dream up creative solutions for those places still alive with hope.

And, as for our future as a nation, we have so many alternatives to fossil fuel at hand that, well, hell, the future's so bright, we have to wear shades.

In the meantime, we should all be proud, we should all be happy, we should all get down on our knees and pray with the clergy who,
Each year, at the beginning of shrimping season, the region’s fishermen take part in a tradition that was brought to America long ago by fishing immigrants from Europe. It’s called “The Blessing of the Fleet,” and today it’s a celebration where clergy from different religions gather to say a prayer for the safety and success of the men and women who will soon head out to sea – some for weeks at a time.

The ceremony goes on in good times and in bad. It took place after Katrina, and it took place a few weeks ago – at the beginning of the most difficult season these fishermen have ever faced.

And still, they came and they prayed. For as a priest and former fisherman once said of the tradition, “The blessing is not that God has promised to remove all obstacles and dangers. The blessing is that He is with us always,” a blessing that’s granted “…even in the midst of the storm.” 

And, while you're at it, people of the DSBP, pray for your "neighbors in the Gulf."

Makes me wonder ... Who exactly are the people and/or corporate entities and/or nations that comprise British Petroleum that we should genuflect to Tony Hayward? Are they our neighbors, too, or are they our betters, living far away up on the top of the hill?

Cheerio, old pip.

Emerging from the Muck

I'm depressed.

I know you wouldn't have noticed because I'm a highly functional depressive. I have the ability to "get on with it" even when my personal feeling is that everything's useless, the future is bleak, death and oblivion are imminent and preferable to this formless void.

Obviously, I've been affected by the British Petroleum disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. By now, however, I feel I've reached my own saturation point, even as the marshlands below us and the beaches to our east keep absorbing more and more sludge. I've watched myself become old and too feeble to find the energy to muster an appropriate level of rage at the indecency of man to his planet and its life forms. It's time for me to turn that purpose-filled moxie over to the young.

That's a difficult thing to do for a person as enamored of control as I am. But you take your baby steps one at a time, and, before you know it, you've learned to walk a different walk, as hesitant and somewhat painful as it may be.

I'm fearful, too. Never was before. Not much, anyway. Now I find myself wanting more and more to sit at home within my own square yardage and avoid the world outside my gate. I want less, and I want to do less.

I need to snap out of this.

By the way, don't ever say, "Snap out of it, " to a person suffering depression. Depressives don't snap. Although when one of them starts to become "snappy", you may take that as a sign he's starting to surface and may soon be himself again.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Just Wondering

A tip o' the hat to Bill in Exile

Monday, June 7, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I Am the Ugly American

I have a feeling I know why all the computer and software companies, along with their Internet compatriots, have farmed their personal services out to the people who populate the Asian continent. Those of us of an Occidental bent lack the patience bred into a people who nurture a history that stretches back through darkened centuries while ours barely make it past Sunday last week.

I had occasion to spend a goodly amount of time last night with a couple of gentlemen from India, Pakistan, or Ceylon (is there still a Ceylon, I wonder?). I was having problems with my Earthlink connection, you see. It wasn't working properly. I couldn't open some pages (like Blogger's Dashboard, for instance); downloads were taking forever to transfer (does ten hours sound right to you for an upgrade to MS Office?); and my internet porn wouldn't load for nothing, nohow.

This had been going on for several days, nearly a week or so (I can't remember exactly how long - you know, history and all that stuff). It was even affecting my little home network, although that had never worked out the way it should have. I mean, was it too much to ask that my laptop be able to leap atop the ether tracks when it was downstairs rather than sitting on my desk next to the router Earthlink had sent me a few years before? I mean ...

So, fortified by a couple (okay, three) dirty vodka martinis, I got on the phone and made my 800-call.

My first support person identified himself as Ronald and apologetically asked me to speak up since he could barely hear me. This caused me to have to continue the call in a loud, harsh tone which only made me sound more angry than I already was. Was I really angry? I'd like to think the feeling I was experiencing was more one of frustration at the injustice of my not being able to have  my own way when I wanted to have it, and for as long as I wanted it to last.

Is that asking too much? I knew you'd understand.

After about forty-five minutes, it became clear Ronald was not going to be able to correct my problem. In this type of interaction, the first support person one gets is never the one who will solve your problem. It's written in the rules. The job of this first contact is to keep you online as long as possible before passing you off to another support person who will eventually solve the problem, thus leaving you in a state of euphoric bliss at having - finally! - been able to achieve a successful consummation to your previous agitated condition.

My second-tier handler was named Donald. (When did Asian mom and poppas take to giving their offspring such white-bread, Westernized names? Of course, Shakuntala is probably as common over there as, say, Dave would be here.) And it was Donald who got me back on board. Soon I was skirting the pathways of my internet trails again.

Then together we looked at my hardware. In order to get me back online, we'd had to bypass my router and plug my modem directly into my new PC. I asked him about the router I had, figuring I didn't really need it anymore. I told him to jettison the router.

"Are you sure?" he asked.

"Yes. I don't need it. It never worked that well before."

"But how will you handle your laptop?"

"I'll take it outside. You wouldn't believe how many Wi-fi's there are in the neighborhood skies down here."

"Well, all right, if that is what you would like to do ..."

"Yep. Save me some money on my monthly bill, as well. And what about this modem? It's awfully old by now. Can I get a new one?"

"Yes, you can. I can have it shipped to you, but you will have to pay the shipping costs."

"Not a problem. I got bucks. Just don't send it overnight, send it over land. I'm not going to pay you more than my monthly bill just so I can have another plastic box sooner rather than later."

"Very well. What is your address?"

"Don't you have that?"

"Oh, of course, let me check ... Ah, here it is. Do you still live Over Land Texas?"

"Where? What? I've never lived in Texas. Never would. And the place is called Overland. One word."

"I see. And that is your city of residence - Overland?"

"No! I live in New Orleans."

"And may I ask you, sir, how do you spell that?"

"Spell what? New Orleans?"

"Yes, sir"

Aghast, I spelled it.

He read it back to me, "N-a-double-o ..."

"No, no, no," I said. "You've got the wrong letters, and it's two different words. 'New' and 'Orleans'. Two separate words."

I spelled it for him again. Very loudly.

"I see, sir. Thank you, sir."

"No, wait, repeat it to me."

He did.

He asked, "And what country is that in, please?"

I won't write what I said to that, but, trust me when I tell you, we were soon straight and even-Stephen about where my address was.

After that, I was finally able to get off the phone and get back to my 'nets.

And Donald or Ronald was free to get back to his own pleasures.

I admit, I felt pretty bad about the way I'd treated my Asian boys. I probably didn't fill their heads with dreams of visiting the Deep South and sipping Bloody Mary's on a balcony overlooking a passing parade. For that, I'm truly sorry.

Come to think of it, maybe I shouldn't be so eager to open that little package when it comes ...

The Nights Are Long and Lonely Without You

Messages left at Verti Marte.
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