Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Happy fried baby day

'Tis the season in Southern Louisiana for Mardi Gras. A French-originated festival where once upon a time the King rode through the villages on horseback, tossing jewels, cash and unpasteurized cheese at the masses, it has evolved to the point at which regular folk toss about beads and also cook gumbo. Mardi Gras also offers the opportunity to consume king cake. King cake is a cinnamony concoction which, much like the foods of Hong Kong (where nothing is served unless it's endangered) features a tasty surprise in the middle, namely a plastic baby which is supposed to represent the king. Psychologists, far more qualified than myself, will need to explain the symbolism of a charred plastic infant in relation to royalty, although if the French/Louisiana monarchs were anything like the current British ones, I can certainly understand.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ding dong the witch is dead?

So a few states away, Barack Obama won the South Carolina primary. Does that mean that Lady McBeth is done? That Caligula will be buried once and for all? That after twenty-eight years a nation of 300 million, a nominal democracy, will have a president/vice president team that does not include anyone named Bush or Clinton? Or, and I hate to raise this idea, will Obama be RFK'ed? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Louisiana handshake

It's time to be introduced to another social custom here. The Louisiana handshake.
The Louisiana handshake is something like this: extend your index finger and thumb to grasp the tip of the other person's index finger for a nanosecond. Make sure your facial expression shows your opinion that you are thoroughly disgusted during that moment- but conceal your disgust with an insincere smile. Drop the other person's index finger and pull back your arm. In other words, the Louisiana handshake- so called because i have never encountered it before-is the handshake for people who don't want to shake hands. Ladies of a certain class-the ones Evita Peron railed about- are experts in this. It's fascinating because it conveys so much so quickly. Disgust, distance, reluctance and an air of unjustified superiority can all be felt. Sometimes, this handshake is accompanied by speech that indicates that the speaker considers you to be a fairly dimwitted two year old. When Chris Tucker first meets Jackie Chan at the airport in Rush Hour and says "do you understand a word that is coming out of my mouth?" he is providing a window into my daily life here. Except that the people who say this to me look nothing like him. And he really shouldn't go where they live.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

getting back into the swing of it all

Charles Bukowski said that nobody who is happy can write anything worthwhile. Since I met a lady (who shall remain nameless) my happiness quotient increased significantly, even in the face of my non reintegration. As such, I have been dormant. However, my new years resolution (one of them anyhoo) is to prove the late (ahem) Mr. Bukowski wrong. In the process, and as a tribute to my quasi reintegration, this blog will taken on a slightly more professional sheen and as befitting its newfound gravitas we will discuss the two books now on my nightstand. The first one features naked photos of Supreme Court justices while island desolation and rotten fish figure prominently into the second one. Both are quality materials to be sure. The first, highly academic in nature, suits one who is on his way to Turkey (and before that Madison, Wisconsin) to give scholarly presentations on topics that large numbers of people will feign interest in. The second suits one who is slowly, oh so very slowly completing a book about his own experiences in South Korea and is perhaps hoping to find a publisher for that.

When not reading porn disguised as literature and when not nursing literature related delusions of my own, I spend time trying to improve my photography. In that vein, I met with an art gallery owner in Lake Charles, an artsy laid-back town on the Texas border where, befitting Democrats, I spent a cozy eve with the party chairman, drinking beers on his porch. (If this was a Republican party gathering, I would have waited tables at the country club where the chairman was sipping sherry while ogling the underage Black woman in his employ. Note the subtle difference.) At some point, I had a chat with the gallery owner who would like for me to send her some good examples of my work. Note the term "good". And so, I turn to my loyal readership (anybody?) for pointers. In the coming days I will do my level best to update the gallery here and while I do, please leave comments regarding which 4 or 5 I should send off. Quality over quantity people. That's the watchword.