Friday, September 04, 2009

Current Reading

The Edwardians, Vita Sackville-West
A slightly fictionalized account of life at Knole (Chevron in the novel) at the height of the Edwardian period. Probably her best novel.

My Other Life, Paul Theroux
A work of fiction with the attributes of an autobiography - the main character is named Paul Theroux and has written books with the same titles (My Secret History, The Mosquito Coast, etc). In this book he has such experiences as giving poetry lessons to an arms dealer in Singapore, fending off advances from wealthy literary groupies, hosting a dinner with a drunken Anthony Burgess and a ridiculous bibiomane, being interviewed by someone who appeared in The Great Railway Bazaar (and was unhappy with her portrayal), and receiving life-advice from QE II, which leads to him writing The Happy Isles of Oceana.

Scurrilous gossip about the great, the good, and their pilot fish. Intensely entertaining. With phrases like " a libido like an electric eel" (describing Dali's horrendous wife Gala), he approaches Vidalian levels of wit and erudition, especially when he writes about artists and their hangers-on. His descriptions of Armand Hammer and Dr. Barnes ("The Beastly Dr. Barnes") are priceless, and his portrayal of Andy Warhol's secret (he was intensely religious) is very touching. There's also a very good essay about poor Mario Praz.

The City of Florence, Historical Vistas and Personal Sightings, R.W.B.Lewis
I'm about halfway into this one. I don't know why I bought it - I've had a distaste for Florence ever since the Great Gelato Incident of 1998. Perhaps it's time to forgive and forget.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


"Times are not good here. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under a lava flood of taxes and frauds and maladministrations so that it has become only a study for archaeologists. Its condition is so bad that when I write about it, as I intend to do soon, nobody will believe I am telling the truth. But it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole state of Ohio."
Lafcadio Hearn, 1879

Fortunately, I have managed to avoid the sackcloth and ashes. So far.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Friday on the Gallery

In the Quarter, balconies and galleries are prime social spaces - generally breezy in the summer and great for people-watching. If one is lucky enough to have one, one spends less time in bars because one's apartment becomes a destination. This has been the case for much of August, which has been surprisingly (OK, comparatively) mild, despite the 99% humidity. So on Friday, my friends Jennifer and Scott, who were celebrating their impending adoption of a rescue frenchie, randomly showed up, as they will do (in all fairness, I drank much of the contents of their wine fridge a couple of weekends ago). I was actually next door drinking grappa on my neighbor Mike's gallery (note to self: grappa gives a vicious hangover, especially when consumed with more than one bottle of red wine) when they hollered up from the street (as people will do), but soon enough, things moved over to my spot.

Scott watching the parade below.

Bugsy wants to know what all of this noise is about. No, we weren't playing French Quarter Lifeguard (Out of the pool!), because I couldn't find my whistle. Etta stayed inside, sniffing the contents of Jennifer's bag.
The humidity (around 99%) made the lights twinkle more than usual. Or maybe it was the booze.

This is what it felt like while cleaning up.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Pack of Two

Seven years ago today, my closest, most reliable friend entered my life. We made it through The Poor Years, Katrina, and even FEMA.
Deciding the best plan of escape from the breeder, with Etta
A few months before I babysat my friends' pug, Bugsy, for a week and was inconsolable when I had to give him back. Accepting responsibility for my new-found need for a pug, my friends Jennifer and Scott drove me to a breeder on the North Shore (of Lake Pontchartrain). I was going to pick out one of the show-quality boys, but Etta had the most personality - she was in time out for fighting with her littermates. She also was half the size of her brothers and had a corneal abrasion. When I suggested that maybe she needed a couple of weeks still, the breeder - one of the strangest people I've ever met (remember, I live in the French Quarter) - told me to pick out one of the boys, as he had no problem selling female puppies. I finished the sentence mentally: "to a puppy mill." The picture above looks like it was taken just after that exchange (Etta is the dark spot behind my hands). Shortly afterward I paid this strange man and fled with the scrawny, purebred rescue puppy. The rest is French Quarter legend.

A couple of hours later back home

Yes, the tongue was out even then

A week later she met her Uncle Bugsy.

It's been a rocky relationship ever since.

Parents always hope their children make smart choices.

I watch her a little more closely at the park these days.

Last year, just before the Gustavacation.

A couple of months ago hunting on the gallery.

I think that this occasion calls for a Ramos Gin Fizz at DBA (where she is always welcome), followed by some food somewhere outside to enjoy the unseasonably cool weather. Yes, I usually share...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yes, things got a bit out of hand....

It was Mardi Gras day (okay, weekend), so:

1. I explained to my mother in KY that no, I was nowhere near the parade shooting this morning because I was still out elsewhere when it happened. From the night before. (that's a DJ known as Treasure Fingers, not me)

2. A friend tried to pour vodka down peoples' throats from my balcony. And succeeded a few times. This is a happy customer showing some petticoat in thanks.

3. My friend Kizatherine brought sexy back...
4. I let my friend John wear a mullet wig. He had no excuse to put it on backwards like this, though.

5. I let an Englishman who never finished shaving upstairs.

6. No, this wasn't the office King Cake party. Yes, I know people who wear codpieces....

7. But surrounded by this sort of moral turpetude, what can one expect.

8. This is a family blog, so I won't post the pics of the Draft Stormy person running around naked under my balcony. No, she wouldn't come upstairs, even after my friend poured vodka down her throat from above.

more later.....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

You know you're famous when...

You're on a MUSES throw! Congratulations, Ronnie Numbers! (photo from the New Orleans Times Picayune) I know you'll get quite the thrill from the thought of all of those women's feet up against your face!

It's coming...

Saving their spots on St. Charles for Muses this morning.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I break my blog silence for Barkus, my favorite Mardi Gras parade. It is the day when Etta (not so) reluctantly ventures forth to meet her adoring public.

Here Etta poses the eternal Barkus question: "Why do you dress me like this, Daddy?" The confusion ends once she goes downstairs and gets (even) more attention than normal

Hey! Butt sniffing is a two-way street, pal!

Hmmm... I saw a documentary about this sort of thing.

Any other time of the year this would be its own post.

Pug bookends

I know, there are other kinds of dogs at Barkus than pugs...

Another shot of these two maginificent beasts.

After the parade, Bugsy (Etta's friend) is ready for a Pimm's Cup!

Well, Etta's done. I have tons more pictures, but I don't want to crash the server.