Saturday, January 20, 2024

Opie the cat


Po Boy views


Phil LaMancusa




        “It’s only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. All grownups were once children… but only few of them remember it.” The Little Prince

        “Once upon a time there was a little prince who lived on a planet hardly any bigger than he was, and who needed a friend”. The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery is called a wise and enchanting fable; if the book doesn’t inspire you, then I believe that there is no hope for you.

        The book starts with a pilot that has crash-landed in the desert with little or no help available and out of seemingly nowhere comes a small visitor (picture David Bowie at eleven years of age). The boy is called a little prince, but as he is the only inhabitant of his planet (which is no bigger than a house) he has no competition. Little Prince is only what he is called by the pilot and the book, and that’s good enough for me (and should be for you).

        The boy has travelled far and wide and has had experiences on other small planets with a series of archetypical adult figures that when taken objectively; resemble many adults (grown-ups) around you now. The little guy asks the pilot to draw him a particular picture and the adventures, lessons, and wisdom begins. It is a classic example of ‘from the mouths of babes’.

        In other words, it’s life in its simplest form, and when life is seen in its simplest form, happiness is within reach; but also is heartbreak. Life is usually seen in its simplest form when someone has nothing left to lose.

        My veterinarian, ten years ago, found a newborn kitten on a rainy Moss Street roadway, nursed it to life and we got the pleasure of it sharing our lives with it. Debbie named him Opie because he looked like Ron Howard. His colors were what are called butterscotch. He grew with an appetite and a gentle lovingness unsurpassed. Before his illness he weighed about twenty pounds.

        The Little Prince teaches us that, if we look with our hearts, loving a person, place or thing makes it ours. Although there may be many persons, places and things seemingly alike to others, that cannot take away that that is not the one that WE love. WE, in loving the ones WE love, makes that ONE special and ours alone; one rose out of a thousand, if it is our rose, is, in its uniqueness, the only rose we truly can love with all of our being. All roses are beautiful; but, OUR rose will outshine them all. So too it is with a star that we choose, a piece of music, work of art, lover and/or a cat.  

        When we experience this sensibility, we become like children who love with all their hearts and all that they love, without reason or regret; without condition, becomes significant and personal.

        Opie was diagnosed with an incurable cancer and instead of subjecting him to the discomfort of debilitating procedures and medicines we had chosen to bring him home and spoil him and love on him until it was time for him to, as they say, cross that Rainbow Bridge. His tumor had grown too large for him to function normally now, growing to a twenty-six inch stomach circumference and he was fading. We took him back to the clinic today to begin his next life’s journey; his time here is at an end, and the quality of life we promised for him had become no longer an option.

        We feel that it is only fitting for our Vet who brought him into this world to be the person that takes him out. I would say that we are heartbroken, but heartbroken is too mild a term for how we feel; once again the Bureau of Happy Endings is not answering our calls or wishes.  

        You know the drill; every day there is an inhumanity against loved ones, yours or someone else’s. You put your faith in a higher being to guide and assist you and to offer succor and support. As it turns out, this higher being has plans of its own and you may say that this higher being is “moving in mysterious ways”. I differ to agree. I don’t think the mother f*cker cares a whit.

        I’ve had friends, lovers, family and critters that I’ve loved cross that frickin’ ‘Rainbow Bridge’ without knowledge or consent for this “Mysterious Way”. And I call foul.  I believe in the teaching that all religions that tell us to treat others as we would be treated; I take exception to the teachings that have the caveat that it means everyone except those that are not like us.

        Opie rallied today (of all days) and we took him in praying for a reprieve that did not come. I watched the light fade from his bright eyes and heard Dr. Nicole Larroque tell me that his heart had stopped.

        The Doc told us that the first shot took Opie’s spirit out of his body and the second shot (once his body had relaxed) took his body away from him. That means, to me, that Opie’s spirit is still out there and will find itself back to us.

        Call me what you will; but, if you should one day spy a little butterscotch asking for directions… please send him home. He’s my good friend and I miss him so very very much.                                      


Tennessee Williams Fest 2024


PoBoy Views


Phil LaMancusa

Ink Stains


What Did Tennessee?

        “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” Tennessee Williams

        Thomas Lanier Williams (March 26, 1911- February 26, 1983) arrived in New Orleans from Saint Louis in 1938. He had been a sickly child (Diphtheria) and had, at an early age, turned inward, became a reader and eventually began writing stories. How he chose the name Tennessee is anyone’s guess but, given the options, I cannot think of another state to choose as a moniker. Be that as it may, he had his first break in 1944 with The Glass Menagerie and wrote a string of enormously mind blowing, emotionally gut wrenching and fabulously significant and hugely popular stage plays and films that starred the best of the best actors in his time.

        Writers, I believe, suffer from the insecurity of and need to have other people (possibly strangers) appreciate the written word especially as it is written by them. Writers believe that they have something to say that you should read and embrace the emotion that they have put into those words. Those words tell a story, make a point, defend an idea or are simply an attempt to make some money. Writers, journalists, poets, playwrights, and even that kid that spray paint scrawls the words “Fu*k You You lying lying SlutBitch!” on the cinder block wall outside of Rouses Super Market; they have something to say and they have the need to express it outside of themselves. Fact, fiction, fantasy or however that person on the receiving end of that SlutBitch’s lie is feeling, they want to get it out there, off their chest ( I guess that goes for columnists like myself also) and for you to know it; see it; feel it; be impressed by it or  be ignorant enough to ignore it.  

        Tennessee had a lot to say: Night of the Iguana, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly Last Summer, the big one, set right here, Streetcar Named Desire (and more) and although some people consider anything that he wrote after 1961 to be pure crapola, gems of his other works are being rediscovered, reevaluated, unearthed and performed with alacrity, enthusiasm and vigor continually.

        Who was Tennessee Williams? He was a five foot six gay man who worked on a chicken ranch, a shoe factory and as an usher in theaters before being able to make enough money to live on his writing abilities. He was fiercely loyal and somewhat promiscuous in his love life and enjoyed the down low lush life. He used eye drops and wrote incessantly and oft-times very well. He was a big fan (who isn’t) of Meryl Streep and often lied about his age. He smoked, he drank, caroused and sometimes crawled on his belly like a reptile (okay, I made that last one up). He was a model of persistence, stick-to-itiveness and drive, however lazy he may have appeared. He was a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Go figure.

                If you are literate at all, you are aware of his major works; if you are a maven of literature, you have coal mined into his life, times and if you know nothing of him, well, shame on you; however, all is not lost. You can, as a vehicle to your ever-loving albeit limited awareness look into the 2024 Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival; it’s a genuine really March midmonth wordgeek three ringed J. K. Rowling  Potteresque style circus. March 20-24 (5 days) in the French Quarter in its 37th year and it is a sight to behold if you’re astute enough to witness and possibly partake in it.

        Picture it, you’re on your rounds around the Quarter on a springy spring weekend day and from the peripheral vision of your awareness there are some folks hurrying past you in different directions (and indifferent of you) with programs and notepads and books tucked under their arms and possibly munching a sandwich or snack with the attitude of the White Rabbit in Alice Through The Looking Glass. They’re going to writers’ panels, author interviews, theater events, culinary and cocktail events and if you happen to be in Jackson Square on that Sunday and see a bunch of kooks shouting “Stella!!” at a Pontalba balcony you might be taken aback but possibly curious. But, before you know it it’s over and you’ve missed the whole thing as if it were the Midnight Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

        And you’re left there in the dust asking “what; where; when; who? It was? Shit! well, next year I promise!” Well, this is your heads up; your wakeup call; your ‘get a clue phone’ ringing. RING RING! It’s time to knit your brow just a little bit higher and go get you some literary couth!

        I’ve met people from around the country and around the world at these get-togethers. Well, I really haven’t met them, nobody really talks to each other, they’re mostly at this thing to absorb the vibe and learn shit, me included. Be there or literally be square.

        Oh, you know Tennessee’s eye drops? Well, he used to pull the cap off the bottle with his teeth to use them and one day while administering those drops, something surprising happened to startle him and as a result he inhaled the cap which got stuck in his throat causing him to choke and die. Let that be a lesson to you. Be careful with those things.  See you at the Fest.



New Years 2024


Po Boy Views


Phil LaMancusa

Happy New Year


Other People

        “Well, sometimes you have to moan, when nuthin’ seems to suit-cha; but, nevertheless you know, you’re locked toward the future” (Cat Stevens: On The Road To Find Out)

        Ask Uncle Charlie (Dickens) for the illustration from A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer Scrooge sits, just like you and me, getting hipped to the fact that where he was, led him to where he is, and will determine where he will be if he maintains the trajectory of his behavior and existence. His moral compass and the consequences of his actions will reap what has been ‘sowed and growed’. The Butterfly Effect; The Chaos Theory, will remain unchanged unless a change in course is made. I believe, in our hearts, that we all want to change for the better; that’s why we make New Year’s Resolutions, eh?

        Rush hour Thursday evening; traveling Poydras Street; three lanes up and three lanes down traveling at the speed of hope-to-get-the-f*ck-home. Like frantic captives tortured by their terrorist employers, the cars, SUVs, vans and pick-ups are escaping, racing away from all the misery their occupations heaped on their souls and spirits that day and into life’s personal beating that awaits them at home: spouses, offspring, rents, mortgages and the grass that is dying in the draught; hoping Margaret Orr will predict some rain and wondering why the home team got their asses kicked again. The cool taste of that first beer that goes down so easily.

        I’m hugging the right lane going up towards Galvez Street and I spy the vehicles veering out from the center lane going left and right at forty miles an hour avoiding something. The something that they are avoiding is an old man in a wheelchair stopped in center lane like a Grateful Dead set: no way forward and no way back. And no one is stopping to aid his plight… or even slowing down.

        Except some guy (me) in a beat up ’97 Lincoln Towncar who pulls over (still in traffic) turns on his flashers and jumps into traffic for a stranger in need of help.  

        I’m still in my cook’s whites, waving my arms like a sailor at a semaphore convention and getting to him, ask ludicrously “do you need help?” Of course he does! At this point I don’t know which direction he’s heading and when I find out… here we go crossing 5 lanes of rush hour traffic! When I’m in I’m in.

        “Did you just--leave your car?” He asks “you shouldn’ta done that” “I’m goin’ right there; okay, thank you I can take it from here; ya got a couple of dollahs you can spare?” He points to the Super Dome and tells me “there used to be a grocery store, right there.” I inform him that that grocery store ain’t there no more and off he goes. End of story. How do I feel? I’m frickin’ livid!

         I’m mad as a wet hen; cursing even, not at him, but at the entire race of humans that cannot, will not, for one brief miniscule heartbeat consider another’s dilemma that may at best be temporary and at worst life threatening. And now, I consider that incident an allegory for the state of the world. Listen: with any luck at all you have three blessings.

1. You wake up in the morning.

2. You’re kinda in your right mind and health and

 3. You have options.

        You can consider, like old Ebenezer that where you were--and where you are--is leading you to a very predictable future if you but stay your course, direction and pace.  It sounds so simple. 1 and 2 are biggies and are really important to pay attention to; 3 requires consideration or not. Ignore 3 and you will get to where you’re already headed.

        Now, you can consider that the world and its challenges and problems; its destructions and die-ings; its equities and inequities did not just start today or yesterday but are a series of steps and missteps that are in essence already set in a motion and movement (centuries ago) that some say are undoubtedly leading the world to its imminent demise. Some say that it’s too late to change course; that things already are out of anyone’s control. I say that it’s a mindset and conditioning brought on by media, politics and religion that at best has to be overhauled from the ground up like an existential rebirth/epiphany and I don’t see that as happening… ever in my lifetime (or yours). The Prince of Peace is not returning; Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today, Madam.

        It’s too late to be an example to others. It’s too late to fight the greed compounded by mendacity that is ruling the planet and our lives; souls hang on by a thread with a prayer and a song. “We were talking about the love we all could share; when we find it, to try our best to hold it there. With our love, with our love, we could save the world; if they only knew” (George Harrison: Within You Without You).

        I don’t know what to say. Happy New Year? This year will be better? Our lives are predetermined; led by coincidence? Is there such thing as free will? Can we unstick the mind f*ck? Maybe and maybe not (probably not). Certainly we can only find peace in ourselves ourselves. Certainly we can only practice compassion, empathy and kindness in ourselves until it becomes our natural behavior. Certainly it is only we that can change our behavior for the better. We have to see that as where we’re going. Or not.

        There’s an old man in a wheelchair sitting in six lanes of fast traveling vehicles.    



Mardi Gras 2024


PO Boy Views


Phil LaMancusa

Party On!



        “Hello, my name is Phil and I’m and alcoholic and a binge drinker.” And I should add “Carnival, and especially Mardi Gras Day, is my time to shine; I’m in my element; it’s my jam and I’m right at home with all the drunks, amateur or professional; newbie or seasoned. I’m there. I drink and I love to drink”. Unfortunately, I’m not really good at it.

        I’ve been to Carnival and Mardi Gras for decades and although I have refined my behavior, the result is overwhelmingly constant, I get drunk, plastered, inebriated, snockered, intoxicated and tipsier than tipsy; so much so, that I frighten the neighbors, traffic, pedestrians and wind up pissing off those close to me. I’m not a gentleman drunk. I used to vomit but not in recent years, sometimes I used to pass out and wet myself, but not in recent years. I am neither proud nor ashamed.

        Two conditions that contribute to the perpetuation of my affliction: I enjoy the feeling and I don’t have hangovers; sometimes I run into things, trip and maybe fall. Those times are rarer and rarer because I hope to control my drinking so that I may continue into my older years bent but not broken.

        I come from a family of drinkers; it was common among my elders to consider a night at a bar drinking as family entertainment and in my days it was not uncommon for adults to spend four or five hours at a local tavern drinking, gossiping, communing and even singing (en masse) favorite songs. True. And I grew up with that as role models of behavior. The only tenets were that, in public, it was bad form to converse (especially in pubs) about sex, politics or religion. Behavior that I hold sacrosanct to this day.

        New Orleans, and the French Quarter in particular, felt immediately like home when I first arrived many years ago. Drinking in public; twenty-four hours a day, at more than reasonable prices for strong libations suited me fine; my first Carnivals had me toting a gallon jug of heady concoctions as I joined the fray on Bourbon Street. Nightly. And still making it back to work the next day like all the rest of the slow burning trash I caroused with.

        Mardi Gras the day, has always been extra special to me. I don’t enjoy parades but that doesn’t stop me from becoming one, much to the chagrin of those around me. Me, in costume, weaving my way on the streets cluttered with the detritus of bodies, boobs and beads is a sight to behold, and I don’t recommend anyone following in my footsteps. Not only am I a hard act to follow but you really don’t want to live the lush life that I have; there’s no future in it.

        Three things happen to me under the influence: I get happily quiet, I get philosophical, and at extremes I get maudlin. I am not loud, aggressive or mean unless provoked. I generally just want to be left alone in a semi-comatose revelry. I feel the quiet of finally being able to shut the world out and not have the awareness of daily life and responsibilities; the world’s problems drop away and I am at peace in my cocoon of alcoholic miasma. Comfortably numb.

        I’ve gotten better in recent years and I am now allowed the freedom of venturing out unsupervised and the expectations of moderate behavior are met and appreciated. I find it better to be appreciated for my sense of control than to be subjected to the ire, anger and sometimes pity by losing it. I’ve learned that because of my weak personality, in drinking, once I begin, be it seven in the morning or seven at night, I don’t want to stop and usually don’t until bedtime. Overcoming temptation has never been a strong suit of mine. Two drinks and I’m off and running, and, there is no such thing as one drink.

        I generally go out without credit cards and a limited amount of cash, say twenty dollars. I go out on foot and that makes me aware that any trip out will have to be followed by that same amount covered back, upright and ambulatory. I like to believe that I can get a contact high being out and in recent years have come to be more reflective of Carnivals past and these days the high spirits of those around me make me smile in their simple and naïve interpretation of celebrations that include childlike behavior and puppy-like antics. I reflect that in my day, there were big dogs on the loose and now, out there, it seems so civilized that my self control has become a reward rather than an affliction. 

        I save myself for home to toast the day and know that on Wednesday I will start a period of complete sobriety; Debbie says that it’s to give our livers a break and that’s good enough for me.

        Growing up in the projects with five children from four fathers (that we know of) and a strapping one hundred and eighty pound nearly six foot tall redheaded mother that drank a case of beer a day and adults that ruled by violent eruptions rather than abstemious reasoning is a reflection sobering enough and gives me pause when I wake up in the morning with the realization that I probably didn’t need that last drink.

        My other challenges are that my damn doctors consistently reassure me of my great health conditions although they would like me to cut down on my juicing. My great inspiration is my partner who keeps reminding me that if, in fact, I believe in my immortality that I shouldn’t mess with the fate of all drinkers: stupid behavior, bad liver and broken hearts. Fun fact: you alienate more good people with drinking than you attract.   




Saturday, October 28, 2023

Imagine That


Po Boy Views


Phil LaMancusa



Imagine That

            There are few differences between then and now; the differences between the haves and the had nots of yesterday and today; the repurposing of the real and of real estate; the entirety of the mad dash clash of past, present, future and the ones who’ve moved ahead and the ones that have fallen behind. “They are the same people only further from home, on a freeway fifty lanes wide on a concrete continent spaced with bland billboards illustrating imbecile illusions of happiness” (Ferlinghetti).

            I’ve changed over the years of my lives, escaping from projects and parents, side stepping prospects, prisons and poisons, pursuing professions and being always on the cusp of the finer positive points of prosperity; relying on personal progress for a peace/piece of my mind that is being continually blown by me the hungry hunter constantly being overtaken by them, the successful gatherers. Fast women, slow horses, unreliable sources.

            Folks my age, our experiences lost in the space of time and the lessons and larks that lead us from relative comfort to an eventual downsizing retirement home abandonment with one foot in assisted living and the other avoiding the slippery slope of a six foot hole; all the while hoping that the next one to go is not another one that we love or worse, we ourselves. You didn’t know me when I was a younger man and I won’t know you as an old person; the only thing an old man really wants to get is older; to get older, all you have to do is live long enough. Everything goes when the whistle blows.  Million dollar condos and high priced essentials; disposable blade shaving with a brush and a bar of soap while my taxes line the pockets of manic mansplainers telling me how good they have made life for me and mine; property values continue to become fatter and my pockets leaner; my spirit contentiously swimming against the undertow of historic mendacity concerning the salvation of my eternal soul, as if the promise of heaven will fill the bellies of hungry children while the rich donate to rebuild cathedrals dedicated to a penniless carpenter’s son who died for their sins. The picture of the ragged man sitting on his milk crate at the intersection; his sign reading: “Anything Helps, God Bless”; a benediction for a brass farthing. “Never treat a brother like a passing stranger; always try to keep the love light burning” Leon Russell

            Private jets and weekend getaways for fat cat misogynists bring bile to the everyman that knows that there is no great fortune unless there has been a great crime.   The great recession of 2018 is coming back to bite us in the behind as the bubble bursts and our credit cards get maxed out trying to rob Peter to pay Paul and finding out that Peter has been financially kicked to the curb; even the low spark of high heeled boys cannot escape the percentage we’re paying, living beyond all our means as the man in the suit buys himself a golf course with the profits he’s made on our dreams. The sound in the distance is not a dog barking but the laughter of Anubis taking our coins for our ride with Charon.

            We’re witnessing islands of plastic debris as mega companies use solar power to make fracking less expensive. They rape and we must pull up our pants and stumble on being the last generation to walk freely on this planet; the impotence of our good intentions paving the road to hell. Have another piece of reality.

            I have a neighbor who walks to the bus stop once a week to go to Walmart; he rests on the stoop next door to us and happily explains how he’s looking forward to celebrating his ninety-fifth birthday. May we all be so fortunate; from our mouths to God’s ears; walking to the bus ride to Walmart amid the chaos confusion and detritus of a collapsing planet; walking to the bus for the ride to Walmart.           

Where does it end, or rather, when did this begin? It began when we let toys spoil us; when we took the proud boasting of our elders struggles as a weakness we could overcome by inventing something to make life easier to be indolent, so that we could make extra time to glut ourselves with more material things; buy it, don’t bake it; don’t make it… take it.  Elect a clown and enjoy the circus. What fools we mortals be..

            Histrionically speaking we are screwed as a people and as a planet while millions watch television like sailors at a strip club hoping that the hero on the white horse is really really real. You’re gonna be part of the 60% of eligible voters that make it to the polls to elect the biggest bull manure deliverer? Or are you?

            People running for office will promise you whatever they think will get them elected and once in office find out that they have pitiful little power to follow through on their words. The government does not run this country and the people do not hold sway with their elected officials.  It’s big money that runs things and we just suck it up.

            Important decisions should be made by the people who will have to live with them, otherwise we have to admit that we’re all pawns and live with that.




Po Boy Views


Phil LaMancusa

Moving Target


Home Plate

“If you see her, say hello, she might be in Tangier; she left here last early spring, is livin’ there I hear. Say for me that I’m alright, though things get kinda slow; she may think that I’ve forgotten her, don’t tell her it isn’t so”

--B. Dylan

        I have a musician friend who can get better gigs and recognition if he moves to Mexico City; I have an artist friend that loves her new digs in New Mexico; the culinary graduate that I helped cannot wait to get back to San Antonio; and our favorite old bartender prefers San Miguel Allende.  They say they’ve had enough; they say they can’t live like this anymore; they say life is better elsewhere. Costa Rica. Houston. New Jersey, for god sake!

        Over 15,000 last year; 9,000 the year before--left New Orleans metro area. They’re movin’ out. Why? What is so alienating? Who are these turncoats? Why did they treat us so thoughtlessly; how could they do this to me?

        Here’s some of the reasons I’ve heard: Cost of living and housing prices; economic opportunities (better elsewhere) and the big one: (violent) crime. Other than that they’ve pointed out there’s sub standard education here; lack of infrastructure; ineffective government and overall condition of our streets. Also, flooding, storm possibilities, power outages and price hikes on everyday expenditures such as electricity, gas, food, clothing, insurance and entertainment. Salt water intrusion. Margaret Orr retiring.

         I say “is that all? It’s always been like that on Plantation New Orleans!” And, here it comes: the ‘Get A Clue Phone’: ring, ring…. Get a clue. The challenge is not that New Orleans has gotten to be a worse place to live in the last twenty-five years; it’s that it hasn’t gotten any better.

        It’s like you’re on a path going; it’s a hike, the hike of life. You got your ups and downs but you’re headed for home, a quiet space, a happy place; the road is a little rough but you’re going on and on because that’s just what you do: you travel that path, watching your footing, friends along and going in the same direction; you’re singing, you’re laughing, maybe even dancing.

        Then you notice that it’s not only not getting easier, it’s, in fact, getting harder and you’re getting tired. Some of your friends are dropping out to take easier routes; some have left you all together. Somebody passes you a note: “P.S. your cat has died.” You’re having second thoughts.

        I love New Orleans, that faded starlet, that tipsy vaudevillian, that sly old fox wrapped in her muddy old river stole. I’m at home in her arms and we’re lovers.  I’ve resided in over a dozen cities and towns and visited a score more. I’ve hitchhiked and driven the length of this country more times than any normal person should. I’ve ‘Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made’ and been willin’ to keep movin’.

        “I’ve been all over the world” he said; “I’ve been to North Carolina.”

        I first came here in the 60’s and spent seven years. I returned from my travels in 1999, coming to the conclusion that the other places that I wandered in and out of were fine; however, they were not New Orleans.

        I drove back into town in a twenty foot U-Haul on a 2,300 mile road run and left the freeway as soon as I saw the skyline and realized that I was, in fact, back home. The first thing I did was swing low, park that chariot and get me a bowl of gumbo; the waitress was not impressed with the poor boy’s return and exuberance just to have my feet planted again on this firmament. 

        I glanced out the café window and spotted two boys on three bicycles and mused on how sweet it was that kids were still stealing bikes; until I hipped that this was thirty years later and the kids I saw were children or even grandchildren of the kids that had stolen my bike the last time that I lived here. I remember thinking “you mean, we still haven’t taught our kids that it ain’t right to take someone else’s bike?”

        Reality check. Things have not gotten worse living here; things have not gotten any better.

        I’ve roamed all over town here since my return and I’ve been reminded of the poverty, abandon and general demolition of spirit and property by neglect. I’ve seen how manufacturing jobs have disappeared. I see a ‘For Rent’ sign on the Coca-Cola bottling plant; condominiums in the CIVIC Theater; homeless camps under the I-10 overpass. I’ve witnessed the two edged sword of short term rentals that flip sub standard housing and re-energize residential neighborhoods at the cost of dislocating residents.

        And still, as Lafcadio Hearn wrote: “I wouldn’t trade it for the whole state of Ohio.”

        Debbie and I bought a house here, first time home owners; the note is about the same as the money that we’d be paying in rent here; added expenses of owning are sometimes daunting. Owning comes with its own challenges and it’s a bear keeping up with them all. It’s tough living here; but I wouldn’t live anywhere else (at least not in this country) and neither would she. Did we want to have to buy a house at our age? No. Are we going to be able to live out our thirty year mortgage? Odds are against it; but, my spirit was born here and I know New Orleans, the then, the now and I’m still in love with her nebulous and evasive character.

        Sundown yellow moon, I replay the past; I know every scene by heart, they all went by so fast. If she’s passing back this way, I’m not that hard to find, tell her she can look me up, if she’s got the time. (more Dylan)



Murphy's Law


Po Boy Views


Phil LaMancusa



Murphy’s Vocabulary

        Paranoia is the suspicion that the world is out to get you; it’s antonym, confidence, is when you assuredly know that it is.

        Murphy’s Law says that ‘anything that can go wrong, will go wrong’ and it’s antonym Yhprum’s Law (Murphy spelled backwards) says that ‘anything that can work, will work’. Of course, Murphy is the one we believe most often and if you’re a Murphy-phile you can even take your outlook a step further with Finagle’s Law which says that ‘things will always go wrong with the worst possible outcome at the worst possible time’. BTW, there’s Sod’s Law as well, but things, at this point, are starting to confuse me, so we’ll skip over that one.

        On language: I’m sure that bards and poets roll and roil in their ghostly graves and cringe in their monolithic mausoleums listening to the butchering these modern times and mentalities have inflicted on our expansive and handsome language. Expletives and our use of modern idiotic catch phrases, euphemisms, and the uses of spelling and punctuation proliferate as if people had primary school educations in Outer Mongolia and were left back for not shaving and are grist for the mill.

        Short bursts of expletives plague our linguistic existence—here’s a question--what generally is the expletive that kicks into our brain pan and escapes our thoughts and mouths when someone speeds up from the right lane, cuts us off to make an illegal left turn at a major intersection, while on their phone (and it’s not a cop) and the traffic and weather is moderate to fricking challenging? Yes, it’s the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot reaction; WTF or What The F*ck! and not something like “you Goddamned, motherless, pox-faced, Neolithic mutated dim-witted scrotum; you unsightly, moronic, product of incestuous semi-primal inebriated sludge gastropod gnomes; may syphilitic goats defecate primordial mucus on your tent floor should the occasion of your next undeserved life’s possible positive achievement occur!.”  No, just WTF! (warning: that other stuff will get you sent straight to HR).

        Other arresting thoughts and reactions are: “Nobody Warned Me! (UH OH!); “Why Didn’t I think of THAT?” (DUH!); “I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This” (Face Grimace); “Oh My Frikkin’ Stars!” (Eye rolling) and finally “Nice Turn Signal F**kface!” (Banging on the steering wheel).

        Fact: your grandparents lived in a world where plastic was a novelty. They also lived in a world where recreation was an outdoor activity. Also, on the not so positive side, a world that disposed of its waste indiscriminately (which they then passed on to you).

        You could also understand every word they used verbally as they issued Shakespearian-like threats: “Oh thy vile troublesome blackguard of a rodent, thy dodge is a bitter sweeting to my patience; canst you naught attend patiently my deepest furies, cease the undoing of my goings and cast me not as a fool whilst I harry with alacrity the smote of aspen sapling against thine alabaster fundement”

        Or as they would say in my family: “keep it up, you little twerp and I’ll break off your arm and beat you with the bloody end” or “I’ll knock you so hard your head will ring like a ten-penny nail hit with a greasy ball peen hammer”

        Another thing is acronyms and initialisms; Okay, believe it or don’t: two days ago I read an article in the NYT (No More FOMO for Plus-Size Travelers 7/8/2023) telling the world that fat people on these particular vacations (and these bipeds were referred to, blatantly, unapologetically and repeatedly, as ‘fat’) no longer had to worry about FOMO. “The poor bastards, I hope it’s not contagious” I thought, “is FOMO some kind of fat affliction?” No, for those as uninformed as I, FOMO is short for ‘Fear Of Missing Out’. The article was complemented by photos of fat folks having a grand time because these fat people no long had to worry about accommodations, connections and whether there was shopping where they were going in case their fat luggage was lost or delayed.

        Further investigation in to this FOMO thing hipped me to MOMO or the Mystery of when you think that you’re missing out on something but you aren’t sure what you’re missing out on. And then I saw that further still there was the FOMOMO (!) and with that, I yelled “well, WTF!”-- shot the computer, set my hair on fire and regurgitated in the waste basket.

        Initialisms like snafu, fubar, and bohica (look ‘em up) came long before omg lol lmfao fs ltr sfw and hmu and have, I think, greater panache thn thir cnterpts. I think it’s kind of lazy to write ‘wr ru?’ or omw or “dm me?” C’mon, in my day (when actual composed letters were the thing) a guy might write on the envelope HOLLAND or SWAK or here’s one from a girlfriend “CHINA!” (come home I’m naked already!) See, YAKS (you ain’t know shyte).

        All in all, it’s a perfect BOGO BYOB Catch 22 NIMBY. Fact: as far as correspondence goes, we actually don’t write letters anymore (maybe a few do). No one actually ‘writes’ anything, we use the computer, we use our cell phones, we text, post, emoji and send pictures; sometimes we talk. And, we counter in kind with another emoji or a like (thumbs up), a heart, care-hug, sad-face, laugh or angry; and that says it all. I have almost 600 ‘friends’ on FB that I only see on screen and I don’t know half of them. We send our holiday, birthday, congrats and condolences over the Ethernet (IEEE 802.3.) and we’re caught between Scylla and Charybdis with only Hobson’s choice as a result. Let this be a lesson.

        It doesn’t get any easier and I’m getting more flummoxed by the day; I think I’ll just go outside and eat some worms.