Friday, December 31, 2010

It Was a Dark and Stormy night

I can hear the water dripping in the ceilings. It puddles and spreads and drips down the walls of this old house.

No one believes me when I tell them the water is dripping, dripping.

So I do not tell them. I've stopped telling them.

They say they cannot hear it when they stop to listen.

They say they do not see the stains in the wallpaper where the water has been dripping down.

I see the discolored stains with their dark, jagged edges that mark the length the water has flowed.

I hear it now. The drip. Drip, drip.


Yesterday, I happened to run into one of my friends, Kevin, at the old watering hole. I was sinking into my thoughts at the time, and Kevin was just the person to haul me out. You see, Kevin is the best kind of companion anyone can have, bright and articulate, with a sunny disposition, and an audible voice. (Not many people have audible voices nowadays. They speak to themselves, not to anyone they think might want to hear what they have to say. [Which is, perhaps, not a bad thing.]. But what Kevin has to say is always interesting and never, never, not amusing.)

One of the things that interests me about people is the way they see the world they live in. No one sees the same thing in the same way. Our responses are all colored by our histories and our genes. I'm intrigued by what people can discover in the ordinary and what that discovery can become in the retelling.

I came upon this clip the other day. It's a wonderful example of an observation gone awry. A silent breakfast prepared by two English gents (Morecombe and Wise - geniuses, of course). They do in pantomime what Kevin can do in words.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Happy Birthday

To Eric, my maid and confidant, my own Thelma Ritter.

Monday, December 27, 2010

When Did These Changes Happen?

Oh, I don't mean the gray hair or the deep wrinkles lining my face. I'm not even referring to the bags under my eyes or the bumps appearing on my once pert and upturned nose. No, these changes only happened a few weeks ago. Overnight. I can deal with them with a little color and cold cream.

No, I'm talking about profound inner changes, changes to my way of thinking and feeling.

Let me give you an example.

Yesterday, since the Saints weren't playing, Bobby started flipping channels and we encountered a figure-skating event. I used to love figure skating. I would plan my winter months around the various events. I doted on the divine Peggy Fleming, the adorable Dorothy Hamil, the little oomph-girl Kristi Yamaguchi. I let myself be dazzled by the incomparable BB (not Bardot, but Boitano), the doofus-who-could Scotty Hamilton, and stumpy Elvis Stojko with the big butt. I hung on every prissy word Dick Button ever said, although I never had a clue what he was talking about.

So when Bobby stumbled onto this event, I begged him to pause, to let me savor a few moments of unbridled joy.

There on the screen was Brian Boitano in an unfortunate see-through shirt introducing the singing group Heart. He was speaking in a reedy voice, pitched slightly higher than the voices of either of the two ladies he was speaking to. His body was as reed-like as his voice. If it hadn't been for his thick thighs, I wouldn't have known him for who he was. For who he once was.

The ladies of Heart were going to sing a song, and some little girl was going to skate to it. They started, she pushed off onto the ice, and ... nothing.

The skating was bland. It had no purpose. The little girl's movements gave me no clue why she should be there. Did she want to be there? I didn't know.

I told Bobby he could go on with his channel surf.

And I wondered what had changed? Was it me? Was it the skating? Were my memories false? Little white lies my mind told me just to give me a little pleasure and a nudge to get on with the rest of my life?

I don't have a clue.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Christmas Wish for You

  • Be kind to one another.
  • Stand up for the underdog. It's only right.
  • Love everyone you can. I know it's hard, but, like any habit, it gets easier with time.
  • Smile, even when you don't feel like it. The feeling will come later.
  • Stay young, keeping in mind that the best part of your youth was being ignorant enough to learn something wonderful every now and then. Guess what? You're still ignorant, and you can, too, learn new tricks.
  • When you find yourself becoming lonely, telephone a friend (think hard, you'll come up with one). Chances are good, they'll tell you they were just thinking of you, too.
  • Respect those people who have earned your respect, and do what you can to teach the others how to be worthy of it.
  • Listen to what people have to say. Don't interrupt. You might think you know what's on their minds. You don't.
  • Touch people. Nobody's ever been touched too much. But not there!
  • Hug people, too, only not so hard you'll sprain their backs.
  • And, finally, once a day, every day, say something mean and nasty. Let it out, let it go. Otherwise, you'll just go out and kick a kitten. And you wouldn't want to do that, would you?

Merry Christmas.

Oh, and one more thing:
  • Don't presume to tell other people how to live their lives. It's none of your damn business.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm Bored

Bored senseless. I've been up and about since four this morning. There's nothing on TV, and my Google Reader has given me nothing of substance to read so far. Christmas! Bah, humbug. It's just a longer Friday news cycle.

I'm never satisfied.

For the past three weeks I've been nursing Bob through cataract surgeries, one in each eye, his latest "enthusiasm". After each, his ophthalmologist prescribed Diamox twice a day. Have you ever taken Diamox or known anyone who was taking it? It's one of those medicines like the glamor drugs you see  advertised on television. You know the ones. The ones that have these side effects like projectile diarrhea, loss of body hair, heart attack, stroke, or death.

Well, one of the side effects of Diamox is "confusion".

And Bobby had it bad. He's been sitting around the house like a little old gnome with Alzheimer's, subdued, passive, but given to sudden outbursts like "Get that horse out of the bathroom. He's tearing up the tiles!" Or "Why did you send me away to Topeka in this Volkswagen? I want to come home."

Thankfully, he had a moment of lucidity yesterday and came to realize something was happening that he didn't like and decided to stop taking the medicine. Now he's back to being boring old Bob again.

I need some excitement.

Oh, wait. My big brother Jimmy is coming to New Orleans to have lunch with me today. Doesn't sound like much, but Jimmy lives doesn't live around here. He will be driving three hours to come to New Orleans to meet me for lunch then driving back home - "before dark" - after coffee and dessert.

Every so many years, Jimmy, a devout Baptist deacon, takes it into his head that he should check up on me to make sure I am not dying - or worse - from my degenerate lifestyle. You see, some time back, he converted from Catholicism and was born again into a religion that condemns more people to hell than all the popes and ayatollahs combined.

He finds them positively delightful, these damnations. He chortles when he pronounces them.

He worries about my soul, Jimmy does. I don't know why. Does he think we'll visit each other more often in heaven? He worries about my body, as well, being a former coach and a lifelong health buff.

I'm not too worried, though. When he sees me, he'll see I'm still fat and pink.

He'll say, "You're looking good. Have you lost a few pounds?"

I'll say, "I'm trying."

And he'll say, "Where are you going to take us for lunch? You know, I have to get out of this town before your heathen killers come out."

I love my big brother. He makes me feel young again. Real young.

Like five or six.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

DADT Repealed

250-175 in the House (12/15/2010 - 5:24 PM)
Voting "Yea" for Louisiana:
Joseph Cao (R)
Charles Melancon (D)

Voting "Nay" for Louisiana:
Rodney Alexander (R)
Charles Boustany (R)
Bill Cassidy (R)
John Fleming (R)
Steve Scalise (R)

65-31 in the Senate (12/18/2010 - 3:02 PM)
Voting "Yea" for Louisiana:
Mary Landrieu (D)

Voting "Nay" for Louisiana:
 David Vitter (R)

"Those who seek to block the way to what is right and just
will be forgotten in the days to come,
trampled, left behind in the dust of history."

Just a Noo Awlins Love Song

Thursday, December 16, 2010

When Spammers Get Pushy, I Have to Push Back

The other morning I got a little emailed comment that had been posted to my photo blog. It was innocuous, something about how this site - "[click here]" - could improve one's traffic and earn one money.

I went over to check it out (the comment, not the site), and found that Blogger had already nailed it as spam and kept it from publication. Fine by me.

This morning, I woke up to find this in my email:
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Lighted Archways":

Why have you removed my post? It was very beneficial information and i guarantee atleast one person found it helpful unlike the rest of the comments on this website. I'll post it again. Sick and tired of getting low numbers of useless visitors to your site? Well i wish to share with you a brand new underground tactic that makes myself $900 every day on 100% AUTOPILOT. I really could be here all day and going into detail but why dont you just check their site out? There is really a great video that explains everything. So if your serious about producing easy cash this is the website for you. A*** T*** A***
Sure enough, Blogger had again tagged it as spam and kept it under wraps.

The thing is, as Anonymous would know if he read this blog, I'm not in the mood to suffer nameless fools gladly.

So, snap! You're outta here, asswipe.

Of course, if Anonymous turns out to be one of my friends who's fallen on hard times and is merely trying to make a buck ...

Never mind.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Albee Night

I come downstairs to spend the evening watching television with him. He's not in the living room. He's in the kitchen. He's preheating the toaster-oven to heat up a batch of frozen french fries.

"Do you want some?"

Imagining a night of heartburn, I say, "No."

We start watching NCIS. He's eating his fries. I can hear them crunch as he bites into them. I can smell their french-fry smell.

I ask him how high to preheat the oven.

"Four-hundred-and-fifty degrees. But I'll fix them for you. I can do that for you."

He does. In about twenty minutes, they are done. I go into the kitchen and spread them on a plate. I forgo the ketchup. Because it's in the ketchup, I think to myself, where "here be dragons" of heartburn.

While I am eating the uncovered fries, he sneaks glances at me and smiles.

Later, when I am ready to go to bed, he asks me, "When do you see your doctor again?"

"I don't know. January, February, I'd have to check my calendar. Why?"

"You've got to make him give you something to curb your appetite. You never stop eating. You're big as a house."

My chest starts to burn.

Monday, December 13, 2010

On Being Coaxed Back into Harness

About that script you passed on to me Friday night ...

I know you said it would be a quick read. "It just flies by," you said. You thought - you hoped - I would like it as much as you had. You believed I'd be struck by the things the protagonist had to say about art because they sounded so much like the kind of stuff I tended to spout. You thought it had real possibilities as a production we might try to mount.

By now, you have probably checked your cell phone for text messages - hell, how many times? - and nothing has come through from me. Chances are, you're now figuring I'm sitting here trying to find a way to politely brush you off.

As a matter of fact, you'd be wrong.

I did begin to read the play on Saturday, but only after my previously-planned morning of adding to the Christmas decorations out in the courtyard. You didn't think we had finished those, did you? In fact, I'll be driving you-know-who out and about later this morning to find more lighted garlands to hang. Nevertheless, I found a moment during the afternoon to open the script and begin my reading.

It wasn't a fast read for me. Harry Potter and the - Whatever is a fast read. A Val McDermid book is generally a fast read, although I sometimes stretch those out because I like them so much I don't want to finish them off. But the play you gave me turned out to be a slow read.

And that's a good thing. Why? Because, first of all, I felt compelled to read it out loud.

Now, let me tell you a little secret about me. I read books - normal books - like anybody else. My eyes pass over the page from left to right, my brain pictures the events described, and so on. Plays, on the other hand, I lip read. If I'm lucky enough to be someplace where I am alone, I read a script out loud. Why? I don't know. I'm weird?

No, I know why.

The words of a script, by virtue of their author's intent, are meant to be heard. And if they're meant to be heard, they have to fit in an actor's mouth. It's as simple and as earthy as that. They have to fit in your mouth. They should have the kind of rhythms one falls into when speaking. They should be built light enough to float on the breath. And they need to keep moving on.

The words in the script you gave to me did all that.

In my reading Saturday afternoon, I confess I had to stop and take a moment after the first scene to research a couple of things that had jumped out at me. I was able to confirm that the protagonist was Jewish. He sounded Jewish in the words I heard myself read,and I wanted to find out if I was right. Then I wanted to look up a synopsis of a certain book by Nietzsche mentioned in the play. That turned out to be intriguing, and I can't wait to see how it will apply to the story itself.

And, yeah, what the protagonist had to say about art did sound a lot like me when I start to pontificate. Like the way I must sound here and now.

So, although it's Monday morning, and I've had your play since Friday night, I'm only at the start of Scene 2. I apologize, but one has things to do during the course of one's days, and those things sometimes have to take precedence. I will get back to the script and finish it soon.

I'll have to, I've started to work on the poster for the production.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Makin' a List

I'm not much for poetry. You probably noticed that about me already. And I'm not all that much into blogging a post that does nothing more than tell my reader(s) to go somewhere else and "look at this!" But, well, I just ran across this in my Google Reader, and it caught my eye. I liked it.

So ... quick! Go there and look at this!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

After Dark

I did something out of the ordinary tonight.

I went to a play.

Don't ask me why that's so unusual. I don't know. A few years ago, I might have had an answer for you. Now that I'm older and wiser, I know enough to know I just don't know.

But I enjoyed myself.

I treated myself to a gooey, romantic comedy with a happy ending. Nothing like the kind of stuff I'm known for doing, that's for sure. This was all boy meets boy, boy loses boy, boy gets boy. (Yeah, boys. This is a downtown show, people.) No sordid, bloody homicide(s) anywhere in or near the plot.

It was all:
I could be happy with you
If you could be happy with me
I'd be contented to live anywhere
What would I care
As long as you were there?
... And so on, and so on.

It was presented and performed by these friends of mine (don't look at me like that, I bought my ticket), Jeff Mallon and Trenton Ryan Perez. A third friend, William Powell, (no, not that William Powell, this one) directed it. He also designed and built the set - a really good set (I'll be calling on him in the future - you can't get away with a bare stage all the time).

The play is called After Dark - A Romantic Comedy, and it was written by Steve Kluger. It's not the kind of production that's probably going to get a lot of press, but it's funny and sad and happy and Christmas-y.

It's running at the Shadowbox Theatre. Tickets are eighteen dollars at the door, fifteen dollars if you buy them online.

And Trenton cleans up really well ...


Sometimes, when I want to be:

I end up being just:

Thursday, December 2, 2010


They are as elusive as a leprechaun's pot of gold, but they do exist, and yesterday I discovered a place in which they lay in delirious profusion.

And what were these treasures I stumbled upon?

Hubig's peerless Sweet Potato Pies.

"Hu Dat?" indeed.

Where I found them was outside the city in one of the surrounding parishes within an edifice that will remain an "undisclosed location" known only to me. Why should I share my secret knowledge and risk a veritable gold rush?

Besides, this whole notion of sharing is foreign to my makeup, a socializing tactic designed to promote conformism in the masses. It is beneath my station. It is greatly overrated.

But back to those pies. Once I'd pacified the agitation in my breast resulting from my discovery, I dragged home five. I devoured them all.

Bite me.

Perhaps, however, I might be persuaded to bring some home to you on my next forage. I would, of course, require a slight consideration for my efforts.

You know how to reach me.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

On the Pleasures of Living in a Polite Society

If you are not a longtime resident of our languid, sultry city, you may not be aware of the recent difficulties besetting the men and women in blue who protect and serve. The top brass of the New Orleans Police Department, like mamas immemorial, are assiduously applying raw beefsteak to the blackened eyes belonging to some members of its force as that force embarks upon a new politically-correct public relations campaign.

Why, you can even friend the NOPD on Facebook nowadays, although I personally would not recommend such a course of action. You don't need them knowing who you are.

I myself am perfectly satisfied receiving the occasional email update concerning the rare altercation between friends or the sporadic transfer of possessions from one person to another in the dead of night or the untimely demise of a tourist or two who foolishly chose to venture round the corner of the wrong street in the French Quarter early, early on a Sunday morning.

Just today, I received one such update that perfectly illustrates the new direction being taken by the department, its embrace of civility and politesse. May I share it with you? Thank you. I will. It went like this:
On Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at about 10:40 AM Detective Gerald lee, unit 1533, of the fifth district, had an occasion to investigate an Aggravated Battery, in the 2600 block of
N. Galvez St

Upon arrival detective Lee met with the victim who stated that at about 9;05 am on the date stated his girlfriend Apiffany Kinnard who have a son for him, arrived at his residence in the 2600 block of N. Galvez St. The victim and his girlfriend became involved in a verbal altercation, at which time his girlfriend struck him with her vehicle as he attempted to cross
N. Miro Street
.EMS was refused.


Kinnard, Apiffany

B/F 4-23-88
Makes you want to retire to the veranda with your brandy and palmetto, does it not?
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