Thursday, February 23, 2012

Shootin' the Hotstream!

So my little buddy Dave Hotstream shot this video, detailing the Mardi Gras Experience as only a local can. If you weren't here in the Marigny or the French Quarter the day before yesterday, this vid's for you!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Did I Mention It Was Mardi Gras?

Good, then I'm done. Thank you. G'night ...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Idle Thoughts

I'm sitting here at the computer, reading, typing, drinking coffee, and a moth is fluttering around the room. Every now and then he lands on my arms or my shoulders and tickles me there. He's even rested on my face and dusted me with his soft sooty wings.

Are there laws against this sort of thing yet? Is this that "slippery slope" they talk about so much on Fox News?

I think it would make a great movie. Shy kid saves tender-hearted moth from flame. Moth responds by saving kid from bullies in ever-escalating picaresque scenarios of blood-spattering destruction.

Did you ever in your wildest imaginings have any idea Whitney Houston would have had so many close friends nobody had ever heard of who would be willing to share their most private memories of her on national television?

Did I ever tell you about the time I almost met here? Yes. She was in a red-eye flying over Missouri from the East Coast to LA at the same time I was contemplating hopping a train to Chicago. Had I taken that ride on the right day, our paths would have crossed on her red-eye way back. I know deep down inside she was a tender child-woman, not that raging diva so many others saw. That was a facade, a way to cope. Thank you for your kindness in my time of loss.

I almost knew Elvis, too, when he was young. And Judy and I would have corresponded religiously had I ever put pen to paper. I've lost so many, you know ...

Have you ever wondered how we would cope without Aleve and anti-depressants? I think sometimes we see and understand more clearly through pain and despair. Don't you?

I bought a new keyboard a week ago, and I can't type on it. I keep making mistakes I have to go back and correct. Is that a positive life lesson or was it just a poor choice of hardware?

I woke up at two o'clock this morning and went downstairs. About a half-hour later, a bunch of drunken young people went dancing and marching down Decatur Street with a band playing parade music. Another half-hour later, they marched back up Decatur Street with the same band, playing the same music.

Sometimes I think the difference between disturbing the peace and inspired creativity is an expanded repertoire.

Just saying ...

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Rhino Is a Homely Beast

I had just slipped into my gray flannel pajama pants and a crew-necked gray tee shirt when I caught a glimpse of myself in the bedroom mirror.

I look like a Cajun rhinoceros.

Now, I know I often go on about my sainted Sicilian mother, so you must be wondering when did I become a Cajun, but my dad was Cajun on his mother's side; and I get my looks from her, Eva Mouton.

I never knew her. She had passed away before I was born.

They say she was a giant of a woman, close to six-feet tall. I'm not (that tall, I mean), unless you count four inches as being "close." Most guys would, but I know better. They say she was as strong as a horse. Me, I prefer not to let on that I might be, too, cause then people will try and get me to do things for them, heavy-lifting kinds of things, that I don't want to do, cause I'm a lazy sort by nature—being a man and all.

I have a picture of her and her children that shows the world and anybody else who'd want to look that all her kids had her same face. It was only when her sons and daughters grew up, got married, and started having children of their own that the carbon-copied Mouton face started fading away.

Well, take my brothers and me, for instance. My oldest brother Jimmy takes after our dad's father who hailed from Alsace-Lorraine, which made him either French or German, depending on whether we were at war or not. My other brother Russell has our mother's looks. And I wound up with that big-headed, squat, stocky-bodied, peasant look of the naturally endomorphic Cajun.

Couldn't be an ecto- or a meso-, had to be an endo-.

Thank you, Maw-maw Mouton.

But, you know ... you look at a rhinoceros, and he's pretty solid. Tough. Not somebody you would want to get on the wrong side of. He'd be a winner in pretty much any fight he might find himself in. Looks like he would be a good provider, too, the kind of guy who looks after his own. Probably takes up for some of the underdogs on the savanna, I'd be willing to bet. A tough old SOB.


Not a bad heritage to be sprung from.

Pretty horny, too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Little Devilment Can Be a Good Thing

Yesterday, Bobby received this in the mail from an outfit calling itself the Financial Acquisition Agency:

Not sure what to make of it, he passed it over to me and asked if I thought it might be a scam. Well, looking at it and seeing that it was telling him he had been awarded a little better than $2.5 million for no apparent reason, and that it would only cost him $20.00 to get that sum processed and into his hands, I figured, yeah, it sounded like a scam.

He slept on it, and this morning he decided that it was indeed a ruse to bilk him out of a solid, hard-earned double sawbuck. So he filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

While he was doing that, his mind kept focusing on the pre-paid, return envelope that had accompanied the letter. Wouldn't it cost the company a few cents to have that envelope make a return trip to them in the mail?

Not satisfied with simply sending FAA an empty envelope, he decided to drop them a line. He wrote:
Dear FAA:

Don't have a check handy. Too far to walk to the bank to get a money order. Please take your fee out of my winnings.

And Go Fuck Yourself!

Gotta love a little devilment sometimes.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I Don't Know How You Women Do It

I let my hairstylist put some gunk in my hair once to get the gray out. (Okay, maybe twice or a time or two more than twice; and at his prices, he's a hairstylist, not a barber.) It made my scalp itch and burn.

You women do this all the time. It doesn't itch or burn on your heads?

Recently, I've started using some cream on my face to prevent the onset of wrinkles. I understand it helps to start this kind of regimen before the crow's feet have met the turkey wattles. So I'm at the right stage in my life to begin slapping this stuff on.

The only thing is, it gets in my eyes; and it burns.

What is up with all this?

Are you women so different from men that your heads and your eyeballs are made special to withstand the irritants in these products? Is that it? Is there some gene that allows you, and only you, the right to retain soft, pliable skin and vividly-colored hair for the right price?

It's unnatural, if you ask me. Look at the rest of the animal kingdom. It's the male that parades the plumage.

This other way, it ain't God's way.

Look at Newt Gingrich and that woman he's with. (Being Catholic, we can't call her his wife—no matter what the Vatican might say. His real wife was his first woman, the one who had been his high school teacher. The second and third are just, as my sainted Sicilian mother would say, "his women.") She's got hair that couldn't flutter in a twister, and a face so tight she can barely move her lips to say, "Buy me that one, Daddy." Meanwhile, he's lolling around all gray and wrinkled with this stupid smile slapped on his face, looking for all the world like one of those clowns Shakespeare would have called a "natural fool."

Me, I'm beginning to think women are a lot like cockroaches.


And on that day when this old world finally blows itself to smithereens for the last time, and man's spirit rises up to meet his Maker, he'll find there won't be any women in heaven. No, sir, that last explosion will have hurled them all out wide across the universe to land on other planets with all their hair dyes and their face creams and all the left-over roaches to start the whole godforsaken rigmarole all over again.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oh, But No!

I just received this email advertising an upcoming production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

I should be proud.

Do you know why?

Well, you see that little picture toward the bottom, the one being used to advertise a walking tour?

Why, it looks like a picture I made a few years ago. It looks a lot like a picture I made a few years ago. You can go here to compare the one I made with this one.

There are some differences, of course. The tint is slightly different, and my little signature logo in the bottom left-hand corner of the original has been chopped off. But other than that, it sure looks like the same picture.

You see, it's a composite image made up of several shots stitched together, and the finished picture also has a textured effect layered on. It's literally a one-of-a-kind image.

I should be very proud that an outfit as reputable as our Southern Rep Theatre Company would want to use my picture.

But I can't help wonder why they didn't ask me to use it or why they didn't mention that I made it.

I'm not a difficult person. If they had asked, I probably would have told them to use it with my blessing. Other people have asked me to use some picture or other before, and I've let them. One of my photographs was even used as the cover artwork for a record released by a Norwegian garage band several years ago. They sent me a copy. I still have it somewhere. The text on the jacket said I made the picture and that I allowed them to use it.

I've responded to the email, asking where they might have found the image, but no one has written me back yet. They probably won't. Why should they? I'm a nobody who just takes pictures for his own personal pleasure, and they're important Artists-with-a-capital-A.

Or is there another word that might be more appropriate?

Update, February 10, 2012:

The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of both Southern Rep and myself. They've apologized and offered me credit and a royalty.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

When I Died

When I died, something in me changed.

I lost something.

Before I died, I genuflected. I submitted to what others wanted of me, gave them what they wanted from me, and waited in the corner till they called.

But my death swept all of that away.

The dust and clutter my death took from me left me lighter, fitter, swifter, and less willing to accommodate.

In return, death gave me strength and a clearer sense of discernment.

What I do now, I do for me. It is my dream, my vision, that I shape.

You can come with me or go. Your decision does not matter.

To me, it does not matter.

To you, of course, what matters will be what your death leaves to you.

And which of your deaths you have died.

For each of us dies more than once, although not each of us endures our deaths aware; and each death has it's reason and its purpose.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Better Living through Chemistry

I am chemically contrary.

That is a lesson I have had to learn as I have grown older.

If one lives long enough, there comes a time when doctors begin to loom on one's personal horizon, like Indians on the rim of the Little Big Horn, with scrips in hand for meds and treatments meant to keep us ticking and kicking—and paying—for years to come.

I am frankly amazed at the range of medications available to the patient of today.

You say your fingers tingle and grow numb sometimes, like when you are tightly gripping the steering wheel of a vehicle you are driving across a bridge stretched out across a vast body of water, and the slightest slip could send you careening toward oblivion?

There's a pill for that.

You want to lose weight?

There are a hundred pills for that. Try 'em all until you find the one that works!

You say you've got this pain that hits the inside of your right knee when the sky becomes overcast and the humidity rises?

Yup. Here. Pop it.

It's a wonderful world we live in nowadays, free of pain, discomfort—even free of the insights into the human condition that misery can reveal to us.

Unless, of course, you are, like me, chemically contrary.

Now, you must be asking yourself, "What the hell is he talking about?"

I am talking about the fact that my body does not always respond appropriately to medications I put inside of it.

Take side effects, for instance.

Ever since television-commercial spokespersons started rattling off the litanies of side effects to the panaceas they are peddling, I have begun to notice my own body's tendency to respond gleefully to one or more of these glitches.

Just recently, my doctor decided I was depressed. I thought I was pretty chipper, but he disagreed and prescribed an anti-depressant for me to take. Now, I've taken anti-depressants before, and they pretty much made me feel suicidal, so I figured I would monitor the effects of this new pill. Surprise! I've been taking them for over a month, and I am not yet, in fact, ready to call it a day, as it were. On the other hand, I don't feel any more vivacious than when I started, but my doctor sure thinks I'm great company.

So what is so contrary about my reaction to this little happy pill? According to the literature that accompanied my purchase of the drug, one little drawback to all this bliss might be a tendency toward ... diarrhea. And sure enough, within a couple of hours of swallowing the pill, I'm discharging waste like a well-oiled sewerage system.

However, since a previous side effect to my blood pressure medication had been constipation, I see no reason to complain about this new development.


Let's put aside the side effects for now and consider the actual intention of a drug (prescription, of course), and how my body might respond to it.

I've taken pills guaranteed to make me lose weight. And gained twenty pounds.

I've endured pain medications that have given me migraines.

I don't blame the pharmaceutical companies for these inconveniences. It's just me and my body.

Recently I stopped smoking.

I was all prepared to find myself eating like a 4-H hog up for the blue ribbon at next summer's county fair. I was not prepared to have everything I ate taste vile, so vile that I couldn't stand the smell of it and would wretch if I even caught the scent of good cooking in passing.

Nothing I ate would stay down—except sweets. I could handle pastries, ice cream, chocolate. I found myself loading up on those, which is not a good idea. I've even caught myself sneaking down to the kitchen in the dark hours before dawn, pouring myself a cup of sugar and spooning it down. I'm afraid I might be turning into a secret, double-life-leading sugar whore!

God! Don't let me end up dumpster-diving for donuts!

People tell me this state of affairs will pass in time. Until then, I make do. I accommodate.

Oh, I see it's six o'clock in the morning now. Time for a steaming cup of chocolate syrup—with a dollop of heavy cream on top!

Pardon me while I waddle downstairs to the kitchen.
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