That Was The Week That Was
The past week was one of highs and lows for me personally, not to mention the planet in general. Did the others align all at once and I didn't hear about it?
The war in Iraq is over. Sort of. Now the Iraqi people get to be their own
! They ransack government offices and steal trucks from pubic works departments, then wonder why there's no water or electricity. The soldiers are telling them, "Do we look like policemen to you?" (Well, geewhiz, Sarge! Compared to nothing at all... duhhhh, yes, you do! Must be the guns and the uniforms.) Meanwhile, the National Museum has been ransacked. Five millennia of heritage has been completely destroyed. Unless it appears on eBay
. ATTENTION IRAQI-AMERICANS: This is a call to all enterprising expatriates of the land of Babylon, with time and money on their hands. If you outbid the bejeezes out of everybody and get the goods back, you can return to the motherland as national heroes, maybe after getting a tax write-off here in the good old US of A. Just a thought.
The weather in the Middle Atlantic region went from light snow and freezing nights to the sunny seventies, all in just a few days. My, um, condition, suffered a temporary setback, and I was in bed for a day or two. Then my son called in midweek and I had to intermediate a domestic incident (a polite term for the boy's mother). To add to that, I got a letter from her attorney reminding me, once again, that due to certain revisions in the Code of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the settlement we agreed to twelve years ago was barely worth the paper upon which it was written. (Don't ask.)
I looked forward to the dance scene this weekend, until I learned that one of the full-time dilettantes in the zydeco world known as a "promoter" was strong-arming his/her counterparts in other cities, as well as the musicians themselves, into not allowing me to sit in with the guitar on stage. It seems that these poor unlettered Creole folk are not astute enough to recognize a guy who knows what the hell he's doing, and they need a professional handler and arbiter of good taste to steer them from the indefatigable. (In my experience, that's not a promoter, but more like a producer or manager. But what the hell. I just play the stuff; it's not like I know what I'm doing.) Fortunately, there is a niche on stage for the court-jester appearances of anyone who can play a washboard.
My friend Tricia once told me that, when I get into a prolonged argument, I should allow time to have the last word. She knew I wasn't very good at that. So that leaves only one option. Make my own contacts with the band members, and in two years I need to get a place big enough to put a few of them up for a night. Meanwhile, I'll practice the hell out of the next two months, just in time for the All-Night Jam and Love Fest at the annual Buffalo Jam
. That oughta show 'em who's got game!
Yeah, you right!
And speaking of zydeco, a tip of the Black Hat is due one recent correspondent, by the name of Erik Keilholtz, owner of the weblog Erik's Rants and Recipes
"As the marketing and promotions director of Arhoolie, I am immersed in the world of Zydeco, and, as a member of St. Blog's I get a kick out of seeing the two worlds intersect. Of course, with interest in the Southern Catholic culture of Flannery O'Connor, and the fact that Louisiana has provided some of the more interesting manifestations of American Catholic culture, these intersections are inevitable."
Really? You might try telling that to the intellectual giants on the committee for the aforementioned dance weekend
. I wanted to bring in a priest to the site for a brief Sunday Mass before breakfast. That most of the performers are Catholic was irrelevant, since "we'd have to do the same for everybody." In other words, allow people to exercise their First Amendment rights at a place open to the public, in a manner that is already an integral part of the culture we all pay good money to go ga-ga over.
On the other hand, "clothing optional" bathing is allowed at the other end of the lake, where the only ones who take advantage of the deal are not the young, nubile lasses, but the overweight male aging hippies, in which case you can just barely see... well, it's not a pretty sight.
But enough out of me. Proceed, Erik:
"One thing that you did not mention in your 'what is Zydeco' post is the interesting origin of the word: a contraction of 'les haricots vert' French for the green beans. Clifton Chenier, in talking about 'les zydeco sont pas sale' explains that the song is not simply a complaint about the cooking, but a lament that the beans were not salty because the family could not even afford the salt pork or ham hock to provide the salt to the dish."
Uh-huh. I've also heard that the "salt" was a vague sexual innuendo; you know, "let me be your salty dog," and all that -- something that never came up when we were kids snapping beans for Grandma Rosselot at the old home place. Glad we could get that out in the open here. (Pat, you listening?)
I hope this week is an improvement. If nothing else, to reenact the road to Calvary is to remind ourselves of how we must persevere in faith, knowing that our trials on Earth are so very brief, and our joys a prelude to the everlasting Joy of Heaven; knowing that our enemies will be trampled underfoot if we turn our sufferings over to Him on the Cross. In the words of the Psalmist:
"I put my trust in you, Lord;
I say: 'You are my God,
my fate is in your hands.'
Tear me from the grip of my enemies,
from those who hound me;
let your face shine upon your servant,
in your kindness, save me.
Let me not be put to shame,
for I have called on you;
let the wicked be shamed instead,
let them go down into the underworld and silence.
Let their lying mouths be dumb,
that now speak against the righteous,
in their pride and arrogance and contempt."
-- excerpt of Psalm 30(31V)
Fair enough. Hey, Erik, keep in touch.