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louis mayeux
A journalist, poet and all-around handyman in the literary trades, I've been publishing the Bookman for a decade.
Interests: sports, theater, poetry, fiction, journalism, piano, music, writing, movies. My favorite poets include Robert Lowell, John Keats, William Matthews, Turner Cassity. Favorite writers are F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, William Shakespeare, William Styron.
Recent Activity
I remember when February made me think winter would never end. Now spring arrives in February, weeks earlier than before. The birds know it's true. I was outside earlier today, and the birds were singing their springtime song. Climate change speeds along. Warm temps arrived in Washington, Boston and New York City earlier this week. Nobody was sad. For years, the tulip tree in our front yard bloomed in early March. The white blossoms have already arrived. Calling Dr. Housman. Dr. A.E. Housman. I had to write this on my IPhone. Call it haiku for early spring. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Southern Bookman
Tina Brown during her years transforming Vanity Fair magazine recorded her experiences nearly every day. Brown's "Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983-1992" chronicle a vanished era of wealth and influence for American magazines. Not once does she mention the terms web page, online presence or page views. Brown's metrics at Vanity Fair are writers and stories, achieving the right editorial mix, and choosing the best cover to drive newsstand sales. Magazines amass piles of advertising dollars, rather than hemorrhaging money. The diaries also record the era's crass excesses of wealth and power. After her days of magazine work, Brown plunges into the... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Southern Bookman
While my native state of Louisiana is a social and economic disaster, Baton Rouge, the state capital, keeps getting better. Downtown Baton Rouge, once abandoned by state Capitol, bank and retail workers at night, now draws visitors at all hours with its exciting restaurants, museums, clubs, concert venues and hotels. Once characterized by white flight to cookie-cutter suburbs, Baton Rouge in recent years has revitalized intown neighborhoods. Despite severe cuts in state funding, LSU offers innovative programs and projects. The city battles a crime problem - the red in Red Stick now means blood from murders - and is beset... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Southern Bookman
Washington and Lincoln are smashed together on this day despite their differences. Their historic legacies fading, both presidents with their familiar images exist in a strange realm of all-American satire, advertising, burlesque. Washington appears in a Geico commercial, his boat pulled across the Delaware turnpike as horns honk, and he crankily responds. Lincoln's flag-draped portrait decorates auto dealer ads and mattress sales. The South's smoldering hatred of Lincoln after the Civil War lingers in the holiday's spotty observation in the states of the old Confederacy. Our dutiful city of Atlanta sanitation department carried out its Monday garbage pickup as usual.... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Southern Bookman
My vow for Lent will be to give up, or reduce, the use of plastics. Britain's Anglican Church began the Lenten campaign against plastics, according to a New York Times story. The church is offering a Lenten calendar, not plastic I assume, suggesting a plastic product to give up each day. The world's oceans are polluted with huge plastics islands because of the imperishable material's widespread use. The Church of England's popular campaign targets plastics used in floss containers, supermarket bags, straws, knifes, forks, plates, coffee cups, bottled water, grocery packages, garbage bags, and so on. The popularity of the... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Southern Bookman
Tom Rapp gave up the music business early, discouraged by cheating producers and the lack of money. His band,"Pearls Before Swine," was more influential than he realized, as obituaries express following his death from cancer at age 70. Here is the Washington Post's obituary on Rapp, who wrote the band's ethereal songs and stamped them with his distinctive, world-weary voice. Rapp's first two albums, "One Nation Underground" and "Balaklava," defined a 1960s folk-psychedelic consciousness of anti-war protest and withdrawal to a pastoral place of the imagination. Rising to the level of poetry, Rapp's songs were loaded with references to Greek... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday. Roses and palms. Love and Death. In Swoozie's, old men like me searching through cards. Packs of Valentines schoolchildren buy to give to each kid in the class. Heart-shaped hard candies like those of my childhood, and their written messages. At the market, roses already in vases filled with water. The lady behind the counter, putting together the bouquets, cutting pink ribbons. Goodbye, Vic Damone. In the drugstore, "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do." Neil Sedaka. The Everly Brothers. T.S. Eliot Memories of Sacred Heart, cold walks through downtown Atlanta. Ashes on the forehead. The... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2018 at Southern Bookman
I wonder where Donald Trump gets his ideas, as reflected in his 2019 budget plan. Trump is not reflective enough, analytic enough, or ideologically committed enough, to come up himself with such a far-reaching proposal that would boost military spending to amounts capable of blowing up the world a million times, and slash Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, education, etc. Thus, the pillars of the U.S. government dating back to FDR's New Deal would be smashed with giant hammers. The Tweeter in Chief's infrastructure plan is another cruel fraud, making states and cities pay for the bulk of projects,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2018 at Southern Bookman
"The Florida Project" and "Goodbye Christopher Robin" examine from different sides how adult corruption encroaches upon childhood innocence. Watching both films one after the other reveals connections between their different worlds. "The Florida Project" shows the adventures of Monee, a 6-year-old girl living with her stripper/prostitute/hustler mother in a gritty hotel called "The Magic Castle," a ripoff of the nearby Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Played with comic/heart-rending verve by the young newcomer Brooklynn Prince, Monee spends her summer days leading her friends into small and not so small acts of mischief, conning free ice cream and waffles from fast-food places... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2018 at Southern Bookman
I grew up loving Clark Gable, my mother's favorite movie star. In those days, Hollywood classics were shown on content-hungry network TV. Under my mother's rapturous tutelage, that was my first viewing of Gable's dynamic performances in "It Happened One Night" and "San Francisco." Seeing his star turn in "Gone With the Wind" came later, when the blockbuster was re-released to theaters and my mother took me to see it. For years, Gable's role as the Barbary Coast saloon keeper Blackie Norton in "San Francisco" shone in my memory. On Thursday night, my longtime hopes to see the film again... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2018 at Southern Bookman
A "self-taught" Shakespeare buff claims that the playwright used an obscure Elizabethan as a source for his plays about kings in crisis. Dennis McCarthy says language and themes in "Macbeth," "King Lear," "Richard III," "Henry V" and "Henry VI" match an unpublished manuscript by George North, a minor figure in Queen Elizabeth's court and her ambassador to Sweden, according to an article on the front page of Thursday's New York Times. McCarthy made his discovery using computer software that detects academic plagiarism, the superficial story says. A book comprising a facsimile of North's manuscript and commentary by McCarthy and retired... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2018 at Southern Bookman
New Orleans does not lie entirely below sea level, contrary to popular belief. The land nearest to the Mississippi River rises several feet above sea level. That about 50 percent of the city lies below sea level is the result of human activity, as Tulane geographer Richard Campanella details in an Atlantic Monthly article on the magazine's web site. (Photo at left by Baton Rouge Advocate.) Campanella, the foremost authority on how New Orleans' unusual geography shaped its development, says New Orleans' land at first was entirely above sea level, as much as 14 feet higher on the ridge closest... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Jamie Quarto received overblown national acclaim for her 2013 short story collection "I Want to Show You More." While a couple of the stories merited the accolades, others seemed little more than writing-workshop exercises Now Quarto's first novel, "Fire Sermon," shows the same barely rudimentary technique along with some moments of beautiful writing. The book, 208 pages in its hard-cover edition and 110 on my e-reader, is more an extended short story, as The New York Times' Dwight Garner pointed out in panning the book. Quarto returns to themes of female desire, adultery, religious faith, and the challenges of marriage... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Will the Mississippi River break free to the west and abandon Baton Rouge and New Orleans? Some experts fear it could happen, according to a comprehensive article by the Baton Rouge Advocate's Steve Hardy. Such an event would be a catastrophe for the nation's economy, Hardy explains. The ports of Baton Rouge and New Orleans would be devastated, agricultural production destroyed, and New Orleans' water supply lost. The town of Morgan City, La., would be washed away. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers's Old River Control Structure keeps the Mississippi flowing to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Hardy explains. The... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Will the Mississippi River break free to the west and abandon Baton Rouge and New Orleans? Some experts fear it could happen, according to a comprehensive article by the Baton Rouge Advocate's Steve Hardy. Such an event would be a catastrophe for the nation's economy, Hardy explains. The ports of Baton Rouge and New Orleans would be abandoned, agricultural production devastated, and New Orleans' water supply would dissipate. The town of Morgan City, La., would be washed away. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers keeps the Mississippi flowing to Baton Rouge and New Orleans through the Old River Control Structure,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Louisiana was recently named the worst state in the country in a Politico survey. Damn, my native state used to at least be able to beat out Mississippi. Guess Politico didn't consider producing football players. My native state must be at the top of that category. In every thing else: health, education, crime, economic development, Huey Long's state finishes last. While Lousiana brings up the rear in every social and economic indicator, New Orleans and Baton Rouge benefit from a a strong newspaper market. When The New Orleans Times-Picayune cut back its print publication a few years ago, Baton Rouge's... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Joe Namath and the New York Jets' stunning upset over the Baltimore Colts in the 1969 Super Bowl likely will be remembered this week as pro football's annual extravaganza unfolds once more. But no one will give a thought to John V. Lindsay, mayor of New York City when Namath led the AFL's upstart Jets to their unexpected victory over the NFL's haughty Colts. Once a national political star as a liberal Republican, now an extinct species, Lindsay saw his progressive ambitions collapse in a series of crises during his two terms as mayor. Once as prominent a national media... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Sure, New York wrested the Grammys from Los Angeles. The ratings crashed. Is that any reason for The New York Times to dump on Los Angeles? For years, The New York Times has been railing at the West Coast city, castigating its sprawl, its laid-back lifestyle, its perceived lack of culture. Now, The New York Times has struck again, claiming that turmoil of its fellow newspaper, The Los Angeles Times, somehow marks a lack of civic cohesiveness in Los Angeles. The article weakly supports this vague claim. If only Los Angeles had tabloids, it would match New York's brilliance, The... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2018 at Southern Bookman
The Amazon backlash is growing. Urbanist Richard Florida in a Wall Street Journal piece this week excoriated mayors and governors for offering Jeff Bezos and Amazon huge incentives to land the company's second headquarters. A piece on the sports/pop culture site Deadspin called for laws against such inducements. Florida and other critics have called for officials to reach a pact against promising corporations exorbitant tax breaks and infrastructure benefits. Amazon recently named 20 cities as finalists for the second headquarters, which the company says will bring 50,000 jobs to the lucky city. Although the tax cuts and infrastructure expenses to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Has the Los Angeles Times management surrendered to the newspaper's staff or will the Tronc Corp. crack down further? After weeks of turmoil, Tronc on Monday named Jim Kirk as the new editor in chief of the economically troubled Times. Kirk replaces Lewis D'Vorkin, called the "prince of darkness" in a recent Columbia Journalism Review article. Kirk, who previously held the title for a brief time, is the third top editor in the last six months. D'Vorkin sparked a staff revolt with his cost-cutting and abrasive style. The staff a couple of weeks ago voted overwhelmingly to join the national... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Novelist Meg Wolitzer is an enthusiastic member of the "Mrs. Bridge" fan club. Wolitzer in Friday's New York Times praised Evan S. Connell's 1959 novel for its portrait of India Bridge, a repressed housewife in prewar Kansas City who strives to uphold pretentious middle-class standards and please her dull businessman husband. The essay is part of a recurring Times feature on neglected American books that the newspaper's critic Dwight Garner occasionally writes. Over the years, I've read other pieces praising Connell's book, but I've never gotten around to giving it a try. Wolitzer wasn't very persuasive in her praise of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Charles "Buddy" Bolden's mysterious career as the father of jazz haunts New Orleans history. While famed trumpeter Louis Armstrong might have been a more fitting selection, the New Orleans Times-Picayune selected Bolden to lead off its series of articles on significant personalities in the city's history. The newspaper's "300 for 300" series on its NOLA web site marks this year's 300th anniversary of the city's founding. New Orleans artist Jeff Morgan was commissioned by the newspaper to complete the portrait of Bolden shown at left. Morgan is associated with Where Y'art, whose artists will do other portraits for the series.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2018 at Southern Bookman
The Times Literary Supplement recently republished a review by George Orwell originally published in 1948 in which Orwell praises a New Directions Press anthology of new American writing. James Laughlin's New Directions was known for publishing avant garde and sexually explicit books subject to government censorship, which in those days remained stringent. Orwell in the review displays his customary fresh writing, praising Laughlin and New Directions for championing writers out of the mainstream. He also makes perceptive comments on the state of American literature. In his surprisingly generous review, Orwell comments that he believes that gap between popular mainstream books... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Mathias Énard's "Compass" traces the interior journey of aging Viennese musicologist Franz Ritter during a long, sleepless night. Recently diagnosed with a serious disease, or perhaps it's his hypochondria, Ritter spends the hours thinking about the connections between Western culture and the Mideast. He's obsessed with European concepts of "the other" and "alterity." This leads him into imagined conversations with Thomas Mann, Wagner, and Edward Said. Ritter's sardonic doctor, who sounds like a holdover from the Third Reich, has refused to give Ritter a prescription for his beloved opium. Guess there's no Ambien in Vienna. During the slow progression toward... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Amazon has chosen Atlanta among its 20 finalists for the company's second headquarters. The finalist list was culled from 238 cities that sent proposals to Jeff Bezos' online retail giant, which says the lucky winner will receive a $5 billion investment and 50,000 new jobs. Amazon last year announced plans to establish a second headquarters outside of its home in Seattle. Along with Atlanta, the South was represented on the list by Nashville, Miami and Raleigh-Durham. Although it looks like a dark horse, the North Carolina tech center is considered a top contender by at least one publication. Columbus, Ohio,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2018 at Southern Bookman