Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Walk Like a New Orleanian.

O Mighty Isis!
There is a temple to Isis in New Orleans.  Isis.  The Egyptian goddess.  The one who brings floods to the Nile every year when she weeps over the death of her husband, Osiris, Lord of the Underworld.  

Egyptians will be happy to tell you that they are not Arabs.  They are Egyptians.  They are Africans.  They still keep their traditional calendar.  Just as our months are named after Roman deities, and our days after Scandinavian ones, Egyptians name their months and days after their own ancestral traditions, older than anything else around aside from the mountains, and the sea, and the sky. 
New Orleanians will be happy to tell you that, while they are dyed-in-the-wool Americans, their city is a world apart from the rest of the continental United States and Alaska.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

City Park Eel Expose, New Orleans, LA

City Park eels.
An excerpted preview from a profile I'm writing after spending a lot of time in City Park on assignment...

How does one eel man let another know that trouble may be afoot?  

Marcel explains. “We’ve got a system for ourselves.  See this here?  This ain’t no dog whistle.  It’s a penguin call.  You know there aren’t any penguins in City Park, right?  If you ever hear a penguin, that means an eel man has spotted a park ranger.  All spears are hidden.”

Monday, August 29, 2011

A revision under advisement

New London's Poetry War Continues Halfheartedly.
Regular readers may recall that I published a "poem" about New London recently.  A passenger pigeon arrived on my porch with a slip of paper tied around its left leg.  "WK- We have to talk."

I dialed up a certain, reserved frequency on the shortwave, and an interesting tete-a-tete ensued.   Never one to engage in fisticuffs or foul language, and certainly not the kind of gentleman who would do anything untoward to a lady's reputation, I decided to let revision be the better part of valor.  Every hint of incriminating evidence has been removed.

With a tip of the fedora to the stars in New London's firmament.  If there is a spirit to New London, it plays the harpsichord in a Bank Street basement, telegraphing its intent across the cosmos.  A rising tide raises all schooners, no matter which way the flag blows.

Mare Liberum,

Another link to the original post in question.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hubig's for desert.

An actual children's menu from the French Quarter.  I forget where we were:

Children's Menu
Fried Shrimp with Creamy Pasta 
Paneed Gulf Fish with Jumbo Lump Crabmeat 
Served with Brabant Potatoes and Jalapeno Hollandaise 
Chicken Breast 
Served with Truffle Mashed Potatoes, Fresh Vegetables and Hollandaise Sauce 
Petite Filet Mignon 
Served with Truffle Mashed Potatoes, Baby Vegetables with 
Choice of Marchand de Vin or Bearnaise 

...Teach the little tykes to appreciate the finer things in life.

The desert menu?  Why a seasonal selection of Hubig's Pies, of coarse, served with a scoop of vanilla ice  gelato.  $8.00.

Friday, August 26, 2011

New London State of Mind.

A Drinking Town.  12 x 24.
[Ed.: What appears below is a revision, made after professional advisement regarding what constitutes the "official" New London State of Mind.  An old orca still has teeth.  WK will continue to abide by the rulings of higher authority until the next succession.]

New London thinks about change the way a cat looks at a guinea pig.
New London starts in a fog, then it ends in the dark.
New London bulges in the middle with a belly full of gas.
When whales show their flukes, they salute the moon, the stars, and the sun.
Entrepreneurs sniff around New London the way tigers lick a carrot.  
Lazy tides push New London out of Ocean Beach.
From Bank St. to State St, to Apple St. to Snake St., New London’s streets are a tangled weave away from Paradise.
A witch with a buggy whip could be hiding in the hedge next to the Pausipeg.
Where is John Winthrop, Jr.?
Food for the worms, and the subject of a statue overlooking urban renewal in perpetual motion.
Where is Samuel Saltonstall?
His family plot and limestone-carved coat-of-arms are the site of Wiccan rituals in Ye Towne’s Antientst Buriall Ground about a hundred yards to John Winthrop, Jr.'s left, and behind his back. 
Where is Nathan Hale?
On a pedestal from which his history sheds one more bronzed letter after another until his reputation finally disappears for lack of support.
Despite his noble bearing, he will stand on his plinth as an anonymous poor sap who was unfortunate enough to have his hands tied behind his back.
A hero.
Is this the New London way?  
To fight with both hands tied behind one’s back?    
New London, small in area, dense in population, is a microcosm of macroeconomics.  
When you get one, you forget the other.
New London is contentious.
It has its share of partisans who love it for different reasons.
It is a seductive, little city.
If wishes were fishes, Connecticut’s Thames River would be awash with whales ripe and plump with sperm.
Those who love New London vote with their feet and with their pledge to honor its motto:
Mare Liberum.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Secret Under Wraps

A Drinking Town. 2011.
“I know a secret,” the girl under the streetlight on North Rampart Street said.  She asked me if I wanted to learn it.  My curiosity was aroused.
Stopped in my tracks by this spontaneous, feminine apparition, I felt a fertile animal magnetism that made me think twice and then thrice, in quick succession, as to what course of action to take.  The dice rolled snake eyes, so I asked the young lady to show me her secret.  
Her long, bare legs started walking as she swept her head to indicate that I should follow her.  She led me to the Friendly Touch Bar on Touro Street.  She insisted she needed to wet her whistle before we got down to business. Six hours later, we left the Friendly Touch and parted company, exchanging business cards, followed by a handshake.   
A city that is alive is full of stories.  Some of them are told.  Most of them are secrets.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Future needs pies.

Hubig's Pie.  Apple.
Concerned over the state of fried pastry consumption one hundred years from now, I thought I would do my bit for history.  When people go to the gas station or the corner grocery, or just stop somewhere to pick up a pack of smokes, what kind of pies will they be able to purchase on impulse?  If Hubig's happens to go out of business in the next century (Heaven forbid!) some documentary evidence should be left behind to resurrect New Orleans' single serving, portable pie culture.

I stopped by the bakery on Dauphine Street and picked up a few cases for the time capsule I'm working on.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

You Need New Orleans

New Orleans wants you, but you need New Orleans.
I've been thinking of slogans and mascots.  This is an abstract Pikachu in traditional colors.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Unfortunate Nicknames - New Orleans Edition.

Saint Expedite.

I was talking to Dickey the Cock last night.  Don’t get any smirk-inducing ideas.  Richard’s totem animal is a rooster.  He has one tattooed onto each of this chiseled deltoids.  The are inked in a strutting position.  When he wants to impress a certain kind of lady, Dickey makes the roosters dance.  Everyone tangentially connected to the restaurant industry in the French Quarter is familiar with his face.  His friends call him Dickey.  His acquaintances, and people just being introduced who have less prestige than he does, refer to him by his title: Mr. Cock.  
Dickey likes to think of himself as a modern day, New Orleans-based, Eugene Debs.  Through manipulations I cannot begin to fathom, Dickey serves as a kind of informal union boss and hiring office for the city’s unorganized, but professional, dishwashers.  He collects regular dues from the dishwashers in return for keeping an eye on the market and bargaining on their behalf for better working conditions, higher wages, and increased benefits.  He is a vocal, if sometimes inelegant, advocate for dishwashers‘ rights.  “The voiceless need to be heard,” he says.
I bumped into The Cock on the steps of the Supreme Court Building on the Royal Street side.  He offered me a swig from his can of Bud Light, but I had just had a glass of ice water not five minutes before.  After exchanging pleasantries, I asked Dickey about a rumor I had heard, something about a backed up drain in the kitchen of a rather pricey eatery on St. Ann Street.  
“That was on Saint Peter, not Saint Anne,” Dickey the Cock said.  “I cannot say that the dishwasher was involved, mind you, and I don’t believe he was.  All I can tell you about the matter is that a foreign object, one that does not belong in any restaurant kitchen drain, was discovered within the plumbing of the premises about which we are discussing.”  Dickey once considered becoming an attorney.  He even had a slogan prepared for his television, radio, and billboard advertisements: “Put The Cock On ‘Em!”  Instead, he found his true calling.
From what I heard, it was indeed a very foreign object.  I heard that a diamond ring worth $40,000.00 was found wrapped in a napkin and lodged into the U-bend under a sink at one of New Orleans‘ swankiest public dining halls.  According to Dickey, it is improbable to the point of impossible that the dishwasher could have wrapped a napkin around a valuable ring, and disposed of it down the drain.  “Why wouldn’t the fool just put it in his pocket?  He could have hid it in the remoulade, since the remoulade is terrible there and nobody orders it, and then he could have swallowed it during his dinner break.  Heck, he could have put it on his finger if he was stealing it.  He wouldn’t commit to the bowels of the Sewer and Water Board.”
As it turns out, no charges have been filed against the dishwasher, nor is his further employment in question.  According to Dickey, the dishwasher has earned a two percent raise based on his dedication to duty, demonstrated by turning off the water when he noted the drain was clogged.  “It takes a sharp man with a keen sense of responsibility to be a dishwasher,” Dickey says.  “You can’t just pluck a man out of the unemployment line and expect him to be a dishwasher.  It takes years of practice, and familiarity with the traditions of the craft.  Most people don’t realize that.  That’s why I’m here to fight for the dishwashers.”
We chatted a bit more, mostly about the weather and how Lucky Dog’s hot dog carts are not required to have three sinks like every other culinary establishment in New Orleans.  
When it was time for me to go, Dickey had about a tenth of a tall boy of Bud Light left.  Remembering a past conversation about his efforts to complete his state quarter collection, I handed him the four loose quarters that jangled in my pocket when I stood up.  
“Refuse to rest while fellow men go hungry,” were Dickey’s parting words to me as he shook my hand and looked me squarely in the eye.
I told him I am an insomniac, and bid him a good rest of the night.

A trip to the Doctor.

Saint Joan of Arc, pray for us.
The doc gave me the diagnosis.  I am invisible to x-rays.  As if I didn't have enough enough hereditary quirks to escape notoriety.  His office is in a boarded up shotgun off North Robertson Street downwtown of Elysian Fields.  I had to crawl through a window to get into the waiting room, but his rates are reasonable, even if his front door is boarded up.

After a battery of tests and procedures appropriate to a general physical examination to establish a person's current state of health, Doctor Omphaloskepsis (he seems to be of Greek-and-Creole descent) told me, without mincing words, "You are radiolucent."

It is a benign, congenital medical condition reported in 0.00051% of the global population.  Its complications, as reflected in morbidity and mortality reports, are statistically nil.  My doctor advises me that, if I do, indeed, suffer complications that impact my activities of daily living, I should increase the lead in my diet.  Sometimes, the cure is worse than the disease.

As he put his X-ray spectacles back in their case, he looked at me ruefully.  "This is not a disability that you cannot overcome with appropriate, professional oversight.  I have some fishing line sinkers in my tackle box back home.  If you put one between your cheek and gum every day for a month, the prognosis is favorable.  Make an appointment next week and we can review your treatment plan.  I will dispense the medicine then.  The cost of a sinker is $1.56 apiece, and you will be receiving thirty of them.  Remember to bring $468 in cash or money order, as well as the fee for the office visit.

My radiolucent nature has never been an impediment, so I declined to undergo the prescribed therapy.  Dr. Omphaloskepsis did listen to my head with his stethoscope, and he diagnosed me with an accute case of confabulation.  His recommendation for this:  a good night's sleep every night.  Ascelpius may be the good of medicine, but Hypnos an Morpheus swab balm when and where it is most needed.

After a night in listening to the pulse of the New Orleans' musical spirit in five venues at the end of my street, it is time to try correct my radiolucent symptoms.  I need a little, doctor-prescribed shut-eye.  I predict a lot of lumber will be sawed in the Odditarium tonight.

-Don't do anything Whalehead King wouldn't do!
Baleanius Rex!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Orleans Odditarium Expands

I received a call from the Coroner's office today.  I told them they had the wrong number.

The Odditarium continues to fill with knickknacks, gimcrackery, and bookkeeping, as well as beekeeping, anthropological specimens, and a rather humdrum collection of curios.  What would an Odditarium be without a wing dedicated to cryptozoology?  It would be Boston baked beans without any molasses.

I took some algae samples from the canal that runs down the middle of Palmetto Street.  I also walked along abandoned railroad tracks running through Kenner, where I eyeballed some potentially revelatory documentary evidence.  It was a busy day, when you include important time aimlessly squandered wandering between St. Bernard Avenue and Leonidas Street.

A few minutes ago, I received a text message from the Coroner's office.  "We have just discovered that we have been contacting you in error.  Please forgive the intrusion and inconvenience.  Good hunting!"

It has been a rewarding day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Louis Armstrong Airport

The Louis Armstrong Airport Logo.

Only a curmudgeon would begrudge anything being named after New Orleans' favorite son.  I spent a lot of time at the airport today, and intend to spend a few more days there on bivouac.  What leads WK to explore the ins and outs of Crescent City aviation?  All in good time, gentle reader, all in good time.

Louis Armstrong Airport's official code is MSY, a mystery to some.  In fact, the airport was originally called Moisant Field.  The field was named after John Moisant, an aviation pioneer who attempted feats that tempted the devil to take his due.  M. Moisant died on the very property where aeroplanes land today on a regular basis without incident.

MSY supposedly stands for Moisant Stock Yards.  For the usual convoluted reasons that make New Orleans history both a boon and a bore to learn, I will spare you the details.  Rest assured, John Moisant's ghost was placated once the new airport was named in his honor.

Baleanius Rex!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Littlest Ninja Earns Its Chops!

A thrilling mystery unfolded today, one worthy of the history books, if only the details were not matters of international security.  Some people see a dapper gentleman on a little, 250cc Ninja motorcycle, one that has 27,000 miles on it in five years, and they see milquetoast.  Please, click below to listen to the soundtrack for today's post, then continue downward:

It started simply enough, as most days do.  The sun rose in the east and, by accounts, it seemed inclined to head towards the west.  This is what happened in the sky.  The weathermen had mastered meteorology once again.  What happened under the sun is another matter altogether, one that could not be predicted, unless you are a dapper gentleman who happens to zigzag around New Orleans on a little, 250cc Ninja motorcycle.  It might just be the Littlest Ninja around.  It is certainly the best.

In a tight spot, the Littlest Ninja will weave like an eel though nooks and between crannies, beating a yellow light by a minute, at least.  It is handy in emergencies.

When the Littlest Ninja purrs by, ladies' petticoats ruffle in the slipstream.  Maybe it's the motorcycle.  Maybe, it is the driver.  A gentleman refuses to kiss and tell, and the motorcycle is whisper-quiet.

I am afraid I have been sworn to secrecy, under oath, affirmation, and blood libel, not to divulge what occurred today by the northwest lagoon in City Park.  There were a number of witnesses, but only one of them is reliable.  The sun rose in the east and it set in the west.  A motor scooter without chrome is like a beautiful woman missing an eye.

I was in Walgreen's, lingering in the eyepatch aisle, today.  I left after buying a deck of playing cards.
[Photo taken last week. -Ed.]
Tomorrow's forecast is for the sun will rise peaceably in the east tomorrow.

Baleanius Rex!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Testing...Testing...Odditarium calling.

I am running a test page for the Odditarium to see how it looks.  Nothing is for sale at this point.

My Heart Is In My Breast.
My Heart Is In My Breast.
Whalehead King.  2011.
She is not a lonely woman.  She has a golden touch.  She has cultivated a stable of admirers from afar, but she rarely gets close enough to anyone to call them a friend and really mean it.  She is a clerk at a non-profit organization operating out of a gutted corner grocery store on Euterpe Street in Central City.  Her empathy is sore.  She rides a bicycle to work, and she has been legally married twice.

Some nights, she goes to listen to music on Bourbon Street, or Frenchman Street, or Saint Claude Avenue.  She works uptown, but she lives downtown.  Hard liquor and ennui make a potent cocktail that she has learned to avoid.  When she feels her heart beating, she knows she has plenty of time to spare.  Follow your passion.

“My Heart is in my Breast.”  12”x24”.  Oil on canvas with  Our Lady of Prompt Succor medal.  Whalehead King. 2011.  New Orleans, LA.  The heart is not a lonely hunter, it is a cup that is always more than half-full.  Binding connections can be made through idle chitchat.  When the wind blows off the Mississippi River, it whispers.

Direct from the artist discount:  $175.00 plus $30.00 shipping and handling (Continental US only).  Total: $205.00 (LA residents add applicable sales tax).  New Orleans is more than a notion in the air.  It is a real place, not a fairy tale used to alternatively scare and entice children of all ages.  Good things happen here every day in every way.  The city’s core is as bright as the crescent that escapes an eclipse.

Sides are painted in matching hues to allow for unframed, gallery-style hanging, if desired.  Hardware included.  Frames cost money, but fine art can be had at a very affordable price.  Enjoy it while you can.

Alaska, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico, please add and additional $25.00 for S&H.  European, Asian, African, South American, Caribbean, Greenlander, and Australian customers, please email the Odditarium for applicable rates.

Collectors are always welcome.

Balaenius Rex!

That works rather well, if I do say so myself.

Our company president

Whalehead King (Fig. 1)
I had to wear a suit today, which always makes me happy.  Since I need some photos as president of the Odditarium, I took advantage of my wardrobe.  I rather like the picture at the top.  It is almost statesmanlike.

This second one is almost too corporate, though I suppose there is nothing wrong with that.  The Odditarium has a sterling reputation to uphold...

Whalehead King (Fig. 2)
Of course, there is always skepticism:
Whalehead King (Fig. 3)
And then there is the gravity of a pipe.  I don't think a pipe means the same thing as it did when I was much younger.  Now, it is more an eccentricity.
Whalehead King (Fig. 4)
I have to admit, I am looking my age.  What a broken down wreck of a man.

I prefer the first two, but there is probably a role for all these and more to play.  If you would like to vote, please leave a comment or send me a message.

Balaenius Rex!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Preparing for the Odditarium's Grand Re-Opening.

Portrait of a Drinking Town.
12x24.  Oil on canvas.
Unbeknownst to the wider world, your man in the field, Whalehead King, has been hard at work recreating and reviving his Odditarium.  The canvas above is one of the first products of it.

What is the Odditarium?  It is part cabinet of curiosities, part laboratory, part atelier, part cosmodrome, part gallery, and part museum.  Long time fellow travelers will remember the original Odditarium in its little storefront on West Street.  It is Yippee the Whale was born and raised.

Yippee made the transition to New Orleans very nicely...
Yippee, the Five-Star Whale.
Stocked with paintings I've been working on since January, as well as saint's medallions, books, voodoo paraphernalia, maps, notes, and documentary evidence, the Odditarium is about to open for business.

Another example:
The Pearl Rosary.
12x24.  Oil on Canvas.
I need to work on my photography skills.  I can't seem to master the focus.  All in good time.  We are working out the kinks.

Stay tuned.
Balaenius Rex!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Monday, August 01, 2011

Planter's Grove, New Orleans, LA

Planter's Grove, New Orleans, LA.
Who is that seated in the park where Euterpe Street meets Simon Bolivar Avenue? Let's take a closer look shall we?
The Planter's Grove sign inset on the boardwalk with authentic New Orleans' tile.
Mr. Peanut.  New Orleans.
Well hello, Mr. Peanut.  What are you doing in Central City?

Mr. Peanut close up.
And a fine day to you, sir.  A pleasure to make your acquaintance.  


Related Posts with Thumbnails