And Gutenberg Lived Here: Carnival In Review: Duck When They Throw The Candy, And Mercy For Sykes.

Yesterday was wind-down Tuesday

here in Mardi Gras capitol Gutenberg Land.

So far we have had:

“cut the mens’ ties off, storm the town hall, old ladies dancing in the streets”


Then “you can’t get a hair appointment, buy flowers, or candy,

or really anything but milk-less hard rolls, wine,

and huge garlic-laced rings of baloney,

because everything else has been requisitioned for the television broadcast

(of the fancy four largest corporations’ ‘literary-political’ carnival-


as opposed to Cologne, Rio, or New Orleans,

where they just sing and dance and drink a lot,

or the Basel area of Switzerland,

where they hit you with pig bladders on a stick,

occasionally filled with pig’s blood,

or with twig brooms,

or kidnap you to ride on their fire truck,

after first smearing you with smudge from a smudge pot,

and handing you an orange.)


Probably either something to do with fertility-

hey, don’t ask me. I live in Gutenberg land,

or just something they dreamed up

because it looks good on Facebook?

Maybe someone Swiss can fill me in.

Although, since someone in Basel once told me that if I drank cola with fondue

I would have to go to the hospital with a closed off stomach-

hey, as if I would, already.

At least they were kind enough to offer me tea-

Lipton no less.

Ok, so back to the topic.

On Thursday, we attack men.

Symbolically, of course.

On Friday we have our hair done,

put a small jeweled fools cap

(a cap, not the paper)

in our newly permed hair,

and do the Rooky Zooky-

a bit like the hokey pokey-

to the tune of ‘Good Night Ladies’

(I once got in real trouble for telling a choir that-

the one who ‘wrote’ Rooky Zooky is a local hero.)

So anyway,

there you are,

at eight eleven at night,

dressed to the comedic nines,

dancing like something out of Wodehouse,

in the massive medieval hall of the Electorat of the city-

the one who elected the Kaiser of Germany-

three archbishops-

Mainz, Trier, and Cologne,

and the other four worldly.

Well, maybe you are dancing there-

the price tag is so high,

even if you could get tickets,

your family

would have to eat leftover dry water-based hard rolls

for a month.

Which many do.

Since the family has been in the companies for several hundred years.

The rest watch it on television.

And during the three reruns,

the next three nights,

(so those who were in the halls can see themselves)

you watch several-year-late versions of Inspector Barnaby.

Where we just found out-


they are going to kill Sykes.

Writers of the program:

believe me, you need him.

Time for a carnival float:

“Mercy for Sykes.”

Will let you know if it flies.

So Saturday-

I like Saturday-

everyone takes a tram into the city

since you can’t take a car in no matter what,

and watches all the school kids,

usually dressed in some kind of inventive version of a blue plastic trash bag

with the head of the child stuck out,

and something as a hat-

alien beeny boppers etc.

But the kids are just so darned proud,

and cute,

and the schools show so much spirit,

it keeps you happy

through the next six weeks of socially-stigmatized-if you-don’t


(We are having spinach in garlic sauce on rice noodles today,

I swear)

Sunday is the day the neighborhoods boogie.



is known for the invention of the pretzel,

so the local marching unit,

who call themselves “the Jacobites”

wear a brown beret

that makes them look like a toasted pretzel,

and a yellow poncho

with pretzel design.

And plays “Gugga-music”

a Swiss invention,

where a brass and drums group

plays hideously badly.

On purpose.

More or less.

Hey, it’s in their leaflets, right?

Actually, they really aren’t bad,

and they do create a lot of need to dance.

And link arms and “schunkel”-

sway left and right.

And the floats,

on the local level,

often really get down to the nitty-gritty.

Like the hideous continuous noise pollution

created by the Fraport-

the Frankfurt Airport

who fly loud continuous runs over the houses

between two and five every morning.

There are studies linking this to cancer,

but no one in politics here seems to care.


Rose Monday.

The parade,

sponsored by about 350,000 inhabitants,

for over a million visitors

from all over the world.

It shows what we think about international politics-

an ex chancellor of Germany,

for example,

bottle in hand,

climbing out of the rear end of a very hairy Russian bear.

Or chancellor Merkel,

as a turtle,

practicing total passivity-

flippers formed into chakra level heart.

Ah yes, the people fight back.

And then dance, drink,

and go back to work.

As someone I very very much admire,

the “third cathedral organist”

once told me

about an extremely corrupt politician,

who used his connections

and not his music,

to make a living:

“Let him go- the devil will get him.

When you have sat, sixteen years old,

on the banks of the river,

holding an anti-aircraft gun,

people like this seem very small,

and very worthless.”

And maybe that is the secret of carnival.

Let the singing and dancing go on-

six uninterrupted days,

and then

business as ususal.

Did I mention

we are eating spinach

with rice noodles today?

copyright 2018 All rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “And Gutenberg Lived Here: Carnival In Review: Duck When They Throw The Candy, And Mercy For Sykes.

    1. Sorry. Sykes is the dog they put into the Midsumer murders, as, in my opinion, the only really interesting character, after they changed the format to be more pc and lost the fact that the most interesting thing about the murders was the incredibly interesting and parially bizarre characters (inbreeding?) and weird ways of killing someone (blue cheese caves, iron maiden) in order to become more modern. And apparently I was right. there is now a new dog.


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