mardi gras

“To encapsulate the notion of Mardi Gras as nothing more than a big drunk is to take the simple and stupid way out, and I, for one, am getting tired of staying stuck on simple and stupid.

Mardi Gras is not a parade. Mardi Gras is not girls flashing on French Quarter balconies. Mardi Gras is not an alcoholic binge.

Mardi Gras is bars and restaurants changing out all the CD’s in their jukeboxes to Professor Longhair and the Neville Brothers, and it is annual front-porch crawfish boils hours before the parades so your stomach and attitude reach a state of grace, and it is returning to the same street corner, year after year, and standing next to the same people, year after year–people whose names you may or may not even know but you’ve watched their kids grow up in this public tableau and when they’re not there, you wonder: Where are those guys this year?

It is dressing your dog in a stupid costume and cheering when the marching bands go crazy and clapping and saluting the military bands when they crisply snap to.

Now that part, more than ever.

It’s mad piano professors converging on our city from all over the world and banging the 88’s until dawn and laughing at the hairy-shouldered men in dresses too tight and stalking the Indians under Claiborne overpass and thrilling the years you find them and lamenting the years you don’t and promising yourself you will next year.

It’s wearing frightful color combination in public and rolling your eyes at the guy in your office who–like clockwork, year after year–denies that he got the baby in the king cake and now someone else has to pony up the ten bucks for the next one.

Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once.”
— Chris Rose (1 Dead in Attic)

Off to New Orleans! I have a suitcase full of costumes and am ditching the winter coat for a glorious couple weeks. A friend just sent me a message that the magnolia trees are in bloom. I can’t wait.

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february mix tape

Courtesy of Damn, Gina:

Probably the Best Mix Ever

Nancy Wilson – Ode To Billie Joe
Lou Rawls – For What Its Worth
Marlena Shaw – California Soul
Ike and Tina Turner – Bold Soul Sister
Bill Doggett – Honky Tonk
James Brown – Shhhh….For A Little While
The Other Brothers – Hole In The Wall
James Brown – Boogaloo
Trinidad Steel Drummers – Cissy Strut
Serge Gainsbourg – En Melody
Vigon – Frozen Steak Popcorn
Storr and Things – Sounds Of The City Experience
Quincy Jones – Up Against The Wall
Wess & The Airedales – Blackout
Johnny Jones and The King Casuals – Purple Haze
Robin Orchestra – Sex Machine
Beginning Of The End – When She Made Me Promise
Damn Sam The Miracle Man – Smash
Jimmy Smith – Root Down
Ray Brown – Coming and Going
Billy Paul – East
Tammi Lynn – Light My Fire
Marlena Shaw – Woman Of The Ghetto
Dave Pike – I Got The Feeling
Googie Rene Combo – Smokey Joes La La
Ray Barretto – Soul Drummers
Ray Barretto – Right On
Joe Bataan – Latin Strut
Harlem River Drive – Seeds Of Life
Mandingo – Black Rite
Dick Hyman – Give It Up Or Turnit Loose
Ananda Shankar – Streets Of Calcutta
John Schroeder – Light My Fire
Jimi Hendrix – Crosstown Traffic

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from around the internets:

  • The Silent Evolution (via Damn, Gina): Artist Jason de Caires Taylor sinks his life-size sculptures, creating breathtaking artificial reefs
  • “It’s Tobias!” (via Nora): Illustrator Kyle Hilton is creating Arrested Development paper dolls
  • Ass Kicker, Name Taker: I discovered a latest blog crush over at Knotty Yarn. She manages to combine feminism, badassery, and a fair amount of scatological humor in one blog. It’s awesome.
  • Sad Putin (via Eric): Vladimir Putin action comics! Feeds my twisted fascination with the Russian strongman. Didn’t anyone else use a cutout of Sad Putin as their Christmas tree topper? Anyone?
  • Bright Eyes: Connor Oberst’s latest album is streaming for free on NPR until February 15th. It’s damn good.
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i quit

i decided to take a facebook vacation after realizing that i spent the past two hours caught in a technology loop, toggling between gmail, facebook, and snood, with the daily show playing in the background.* when going to deactivate my account, this is what i saw:


Jeezus. Stop playing with my emotions, Facebook. We’ll see how long I can hold out against the sweet pull of internet friends.

*And yes, I realize that posting on this blog still means I’m caught in the loop. Turning off my computer now.

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Hung out with a mechanical elephant in Nantes

Briefly considered jumping Dutch ship in favor of staying in France for the food (crêpes, oysters, and crème brûlée will always win out over broodjes)

Geeked out on windmills and storm surge barriers

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NL –> Nantes

Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson

The holiday travel fun continues with a road trip to Nantes! Plans include crêpes, hanging at Lieu Unique and La Cigale, a side trip to Pornic, and more crêpes.

We decided to drive after discovering that last minute train tickets around the holidays are hella expensive. Here’s to hoping we dodge the snow and manage not to get lost. Best of luck to everyone back home going through Snowmagedon! Hope your days are filled with Calvin & Hobbes inspired snowmen.

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only in pgh*

Heading to one of my favorite cities in the world! I’m going to be learn how to make pierogies, eat the heck outta some Pamela’s hotcakes, and celebrate Jokesmas!

Obama and I are breakfast BFFs

* For an amazing Pittsburgh site, check out onlyinpgh!

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