Friday, April 5, 2013


A trickle of sweat dripped down my eyebrow and ran to the end of my nose.  It tickled and I swatted at it lazily with my hand.  I was somewhere on Dauphine and Dumaine in a little square holding a vat of Gin infused with a tiny sprig of mint.  This vat was called a Mint Julep, but I had drunk better-tasting drinks in my day.  At least it had ice and was cold in my hands.  Through the alcohol fumes I could hear the wavy mirage of a street performer playing Georgia.  I wandered closer, trying to stay in the shade.

I stood next to a tree just in front of some chairs laid out in the square.  Sun-burned tourists sat listening to the music in the chairs, shading their faces with squares of papers or maps.  I was barely able to stand under the influence of the alcohol mirages and moist heat, but at least I didn't have the sun beating directly on me.  The general direction of my thoughts were to make it three blocks south to Decatur and the Central Grocer.  As I leaned against the tree, trying to keep it upright so that I could stand, the wavy lines in the world stirred in tune with the music.

He was playing it wrong, I knew that much.  The best version is by Ray Charles from during the '50s.  It's the one I hear when people say they like the song.  This version that permeates the heat and humidity pressing close like a hot bath is the lounge version with an uptempo beat.  The musician plays Georgia as if he's playing a happy version of I Left My Heart (in San Francisco).

I wipe another bead of sweat that's collected on my nose and wander off out of the distance of that terrible rendition of a great song and head toward the Mississippi.  Like all things in life for me, I don't know if that is South or North or East or West.  It is just over there, in what I think is a straight line.  But the line weaves and waves down Dumaine past Bourbon, Royal, and that other street that I forget the name.  I call it the "stinking street" because it smells like a sewer.  The reason, I'm guessing, that it smells like a sewer overflowing is because there actually is a sewer in there somewhere overflowing.

Chartres, that's what it is when I see the sign.  I speak french, and I still don't know how they pronounce it here.  I understand what the words loosely mean in the original, but creole is a pidgin language and one who speaks fluent French or English will recognise the words but not the meanings.  It should be "SHAR-tre" but instead it is something like "CHAR-ters".

The heat is unbearable and I stop in a small bit of shade near a house corner.  The shade doesn't help, really.  The heat sits inside you, soaking there in moist waves of stamina-sapping lumps.  I want to fill the inside of me where the heat sits heavily with rolls of bread and meat from a mufalletta.

O muffullata
Round bread and square meat
Lots o'ther stuff
I will eat you as soon as I find you

However, turning  left on Decatur because I feel like I must, I walk (or rather, stumble) past it in a blur just as I have the ten other times I tried to find it.  I know I've gone too far because I see the tourist trap that is Cafe du Monde.  I dump my watery mint julep and stand in line to get a cafe au lait.  I sit down at a table and wave for a cup of coffee.  It arrives and I contemplate the sin of drinking hot coffee in the height of August heat in the deep south at 100% humidity.  The coffee is damn, damn good.  No sweet beignets for me, I need mufalleta in me.  I need to buy one whole mufollettea and eat pieces of it over the course of several days.

How the fuck do you spell moffolattah?  I don't know, as my head barely keeps level with the horizon, above me.  New Orleans folks like to brag how they are below sea level.  How does that help?  Why is that good?  The very next year Katrina would strike and their folly is revealed.  By then, I would be far away, safe and sober but remembering the taste of coffee, gin and moff, I mean MUFF..  ah... let... uh...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wildman Hobbies, part i

The Wildman has some hobbies that are fun to observe.  A hobby, by definition, is an amateur practice that an enthusiast pursues "on the side" or "in his spare time".  Neither of these definitions of time and/or spatial relationships applies to the Wildman (see T. Pascal et. al., #adventuresofwildman, redacted).  However, the first part of the definition, that of being an amateur applies.  The hobbies that the Wildman pursues are not ones in which he makes an avocation or from which he earns income.  These hobbies are purely for enjoyment and pleasure, which is redundant from the Wildman's perspective but will be a handy way to describe the sentiment to an outside participant-observer.

One of the hobbies involves the Wildman's magical powers, namely talking to animals.  The Wildman can talk to animals, but they do not talk back.  This is a minor inconvenience that does not deter the Wildman from indulging his passions with animals either domesticated or wild.  The domesticated animals tend to be of the small sort -- usually cats and dogs.  But the Wildman is sometimes observed lost in a deep conversation with horses and cows.  Indeed, there are the odd sightings of some Wildman-sheep sightings but those are apocryphal and scatological in nature.  The wild animals tend to get quite exotic: there are well-regarded sources claiming to indicate discussions between Wildmans and tigers, lions, bears, sloth, and emus to name a few.

During these long conversations with the animals, the topics of discussion range far and wide from politics to death, inflation politics to social unrest, legacy religion to best practices for building web applications.  The Wildman is often the one providing most of the discussion flow with an occasional bleat, snort, whinny, or roar from his conversational partner.  The animals who discuss such topics with the Wildman are not even aware that they are engaged in a conversation, but that does not stop the Wildman practicing his hobby with the animals he loves so dearly.

Another pastime for the Wildman involves planting tree seeds in odd locations.  If you've even encountered a tree standing in the middle of a street sidewalk, or perhaps in the middle of the field, you might wonder how this tree got to the location is is now.  You might imagine the random vagaries of a local building ordinance or the dispersal seeds from the intestinal track of a bird or creature.  About 90% of the time, you'd actually be looking at evidence of the Wildman's handiwork.  The Wildman carries with him several different species of seedlings which he has inside his infinitely large yet infinitesimally short (time-wise) pocket.  Whenever the Wildman is afraid of being spotted by an observer-participant, he naturally wants to distract the onlooker from seeing or interacting with the Wildman prematurely.

This is where the Wildman practices his love of planting seedlings in the past, using his long limbs which extend across multiple dimensions.  The Wildman will reach into the past with his hands, plant the seedling in a spot where he knows the observer-participant will look (because he can see them approaching now), and then will see a tree appear in the present.  This tree will look peculiar as it has suddenly grown for decades (or perhaps centuries, depending on the tree variety) in only a brief second.  The sapling was only just planted in the past and grew up in a spot where the present observer-participant will see it fully formed many  years later.  The observer-participants will say to themselves, "Huh, I wonder how that tree got there?  I don't recall seeing it previously, but my memory is now changing and I'm beginning to remember it as I've passed this spot many years before.  Or was it larger in my childish memory?  I can't recall exactly."

As you can see, this is great fun for the Wildman and he enjoys this sport immensely.  Not to mention it is good for the environment and can avert global climate change if needed.  There are some side effects, naturally, as with all things Wildmanish.  The most obvious side effect is the problems sometimes caused by zoning regulations and traffic.  On one notable occasion, a tree sprung up in the middle of a busy freeway and caused a lot of death and mayhem as cars collided with the tree and others.

Nobody could quite understand how a tree had appeared in the middle of a freeway so suddenly, except that there were vague memories of the tree having been there the whole time, now that they thought about it.  That was a stupid design if ever there was, commented the new reporters.  Obviously, the engineers ought to be fired for having designed a freeway and not moving the tree from the middle of the road.  The tree itself was fine despite being hit by cars for the next few years of its life, losing only a little bit of bark here and there at bumper-level.  Eventually, people knew the tree was there and simply avoided it in the middle of lane 3.

Another unfortunate incident involved a tree that had grown up in the middle of a house.  The whole roof had to be taken off in five pieces, lowered down to the ground and cut a huge hole in the middle to allow the tree to continue growing.  The owners were some of the original hippies from the early '60's so nobody thought it odd that they would grow a tree inside their house.  What was odd was not planning ahead to have enough room for the tree to grow and thus having to redo the roof at great expense.  All the money they saved by not showering for 60 years had paid dividends, allowing them to retire gracefully into a nice home without running water and no shoe racks for the barefoot couple.  They constantly complained about disturbances and a "Wildman" sighting in the area.  However, with the quantities of hemp plant growing on the property, and that strange tree inside their house, the rumours were ignored and the Wildman gleefully disguised himself in that area.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The End, a New Beginning

T. Pascal has deleted his profile on G+.  That is for the better.  We shall now begin a new fictional blogging stream.  Keep tuned for fiction flashes and, perhaps one day soon, a second novel.

Today's topic is the English exclamation "What the Fuck?"  It is commonly abbreviated "WTF".  One might use this interrogative form in a sentence, "I see you shit the bed.  What the fuck?"  It can be used as a question (as above) or as an exclamatory declaration as in "I see you shit the bed.  What the Fuck!"

Unfortunately, this phrase is poor grammar.  Firstly, there is no referent for "what".  "What" could refer to many things including, but not limited to, "how", "birds", "kumquats", and "why".  Secondly, the term "fuck" is an over-generalised word that has become so overloaded with meanings that it is devoid of meaning.  For example, the following sentences could be misconstrued easily:

"Fuck me, I'm sick." (trans: "Poor me")
"Fuck me, I'm horny." (trans: "I'm a whore")
"Fuck me, I'm dying." (trans: "Aw shit, I'm dead or dying.")
"Fuck me!" (trans:  "I hate myself.")
"Fuck me?" (trans:  "What bad news did you deliver?  I am incredulous.")
"Fuck me, traitor!" (trans: "Et tu, Brutus?")

Leaving aside the lack of clarity in the exclamation, I also bring attention to the fact that the fragment has no verb.  Thus, it cannot move in time.  It shows no action.  Thus, I propose adding verbs, as follows:

"What is the fuck?" (trans: "What's the buzz, tell me what's a-happenin'?")
"What does the fuck say/mean/imply?" (trans: "What do you mean, kind and noble Sir/Madam?")
"What is the actual fuck that this information tells me?" (trans: "How should I interpret this?")
"What are you fucking doing?" (trans: "What manner of activity is this?")
"What kind of fuck is this?" (trans: "What is this thing that is under observation here?")

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