Aug 17, 2017

Me and My Cat (1988)

I like the photograph above for two reasons. First, Tobey looks glorious and we are definitely bonding - although my toothy grin is a bit unsettling (probably because the image is cropped and half my face is missing). Second, the sofa we're lounging on sticks in my memory - I loved its satin-like feel - a bit of luxury in the Southern Louisiana of the late 1980s.

Smokey was my family's first cat pet. She had babies - and it was my first introduction to mammalian live birth (no epidural). Smokey had her babies in a cardboard box layered with a soft blue blanket. I remember we all - my brothers and mother - witnessed it. I was grossed out by the part when Smokey licked the placenta off her cat babies (I was eight - so anything wet and slimy was disgusting).

We kept one of the cats from Smokey's litter and named him Tobey. We gave the rest of 'me to the Humane Society. 

Truth was - Tobey was more Persian than his mother's Tabby appearance. He'd stay close to his mother a lot - picking off birds in the backyard of our suburban house in LaPlace, Louisiana.

One Summer day I found Tobey in our garden near the air conditioning unit. He was laid out on his side as if he'd been sprinting. I knew right away he was dead.

Mom said he probably ate freon. That was probably too even though I had a guilty feeling I'd killed him. I used to place in the garden - digging holes, burying weird shit - who knows what eight year olds dig up and bury. It's a separate thing being eight.

Anyway. I balled my eyes out crying at Tobey's funeral. My father, who was not known for his tact, was irritated by my display of emotion. I think I just became emotional - and didn't want Tobey to be buried.

We buried him in the backyard.

Aug 13, 2017

Crossing the Delaware

I'm wishing everyone peace and solace on this Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Traveling by bus seemed an economically wise decision considering I am at the end of my Summer tripping. How's twenty dollars on a bus from D.C. to New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal in Hell's Kitchen sound to you? I prefer Amtrak's Northeast Regional train - but hey, I can't afford to always ride those rails.

I took this photograph (above) as the driver crossed the Delaware River.

The roadway introduced us to the pathways of the New Jersey turnpike (*conting the cars*). And yes - that's a shout out to Simon & Garfunkel's ballad "America."

I ain't no General George Washington but I'm glad to be headed for home.

Aug 10, 2017

Pet Hamsters are All the Rage

Hammie controls an interdimensional portal 

I swear to God Hammie the Hamster lived for a good six or seven years. But it felt like she was always around. She lived from like 1989 to God knows when - how many times did we release her into the yard to nibble - and store - clover?

You see - Hamie was a magical creature.

My younger brother and I created a mythology - partly based on Noozles - an animated series that ran on the children cable television network Nickoledon - that included hidden portals, and an interdimensional wizard hamster that ends up in our world.

Hence the longevity. And the adoration.

Aug 3, 2017

Destin Floaties Summer 1984

Destin, Florida July 1984

It's funny how memory works. I remember sitting on a hotel bed in Florida eating Pringles with my younger brother - wearing floaties.

That's pretty much how it went down for the Roselli July 1984 beach vacation. Except I was eating Planters brand cocktail peanuts - and that's my older brother in the photograph, not my younger sibling. And look. He's attempting to give me bunny ears. I'm clueless.

Mom says we first jumped on the bed. Whenever we first arrived. But there's no photograph of that first introduction to this classy Destin joint.

And no one can confirm it's Destin. But I don't care. I'd like to think that there's a six-year old me floating in some beachside pool in Destin - the State of everlasting beach vacations Florida.

And ohhhh. I found the floaties. And look at me chomping on those Sour Cream and Onion Ruffles brand potato chips.

Wear Your Floaties!

Aug 2, 2017

Delicious Dream in Beijing

In my dreams, I heard the thumping of feet and I thought it was the sound of my feckless roommate thumping towards the bathroom to puke but it wasn't my roommate thumping.

Aug 1, 2017

On Evil

I am not sure how I became interested in evil. Maybe it was the repetition of the line in grade school from the Lord's Prayer, "deliver us from evil," that first alerted me to the concept. Evil - at least how I conceived the concept then - was something akin to the supernatural. Like a demon with wings. Or a nebulous force √° la Freddy Krueger tearing away carpet and bedding (cum bodies) in horror movies. Certainly evil is akin to horror. However, I probably was propping up evil with dramatic flair by honing my focus on demons —  and by contrast, the good on angels. If there are demons, or so my logic foretold - there must be angels.

I wonder if it's common to have this original sense of evil as the bogeyman and it's only when we grow older that we ascertain other kinds of evil.

And for me it was the realization that evil is just a scapegoat term for all that which exacts suffering in the world. Or - as some dead philosopher once said: "evil is a a deprivation of the good."

A Painting of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath From the collection of Arthur Rodger at the New Orleans Museum of Art

Jul 28, 2017

New Orleans Mardi Gras from the 90s

I really like Mardi Gras. Even when I was thirteen.

I wanted to save this post for actual Mardi Gras - but, heck, it's kinda too funny to wait - and I'm impatient.

For me, New Orleans Mardi Gras wasn't really celebrated in New Orleans. We went to Jefferson Parish, secured a spot on Veterans Highway in Metairie, a few miles west of the Orleans Parish line.

On this strip of highway, folks set up ladders on the neutral ground (the grassy median). We got there early, lugged ice chests filled with sandwiches, cola, and liquor (for the adukts).

In the Metairie version of Mardi Gras, the first parade is run by the Krewe of Argus (compared to the Krewe of Rex which runs on Saint Charles in New Orleans). Argus is an interesting choice for a Mardi Gras pleasure krewe. Argus is the mythological creature with a thousand eyes - so he can sleep but keeps several eyes open. The signature Argus float is spectacular in my memory - a bust of the many-eyed giant flanked by papier-mach√©  peacocks.

Maybe I caught the undies and bra at Argus? I don't remember.

In the photo, we're waiting for the truck parade. It rolls immediately after the Krewe of Argus. The trucks number in the low hundreds. They're eighteen wheeler cabs affixed to a flat bed converted into a Mardi Gras float.

Maybe I got the wig from home? I'm not sure - but judging from this picture it was one helluva Mardi Gras in Metairie, Louisiana. 

Jul 27, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Flour Babies

Back in the mid-nineties - hell, it probably still happens - our public middle school in Saint Tammany Parish Louisiana conducted a program meant to curb teenage pregnancy.

It was called Flour Babies. Every kid in our Seventh Grade class bought a six pound bag of flour from the grocery store, we dressed it up to look like a boy or a girl, and propped a head on it. I guess we gave it a name.

We carried the flour baby with us everywhere we went. We took it to class, brought it home with us, and made sure we didn't leave it behind.

Leaving behind your flour baby was tantamount to committing childhood neglect - I think kids who left it on the bus or in homeroom had to endure after school suspension. Or maybe they were told, "Don't have kids."

Here are two photos from my flour baby days:

I hold onto my flour baby like its my own dear baby, baby

Younger brother and Mom pose with the flour baby

Did you have a flour baby growing up? I'd love to hear about it.

Jul 26, 2017

Feeding Ducks in Robertsdale, Alabama

Off of US Highway 90, Pam, Brad, and I stopped at an old, dilapidated building with a sign out front that read "Interdenominational Church." We fed the ducks. Greig conducted an interview.

- Posted on BlogPress

Location:Robertsdale, Alabama

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