• Poetry



Just briefly, here are the things I meant to blog about but haven’t yet, in no satisfactory chronological order. Just got to get them down or else I’ll forget to write about them entirely. (With blog rot in the Swamp of Despair, where the waters above meet the waters below, and the great Nothing erodes all memories, only the repetition of a sacred mantra will create a foundation of fungus and mungey humus for hapless adventurers. Or as Atreiu says, Remember Artax!)

  1. Attending the Vermilion Parish Police Jury (sort of like a county commissioners meeting but rowdier and with exciting community input amidst reports of mosquito spraying and garbage pickup hassles; the things I heard at this meeting made front page news the day after, first impression: this place feels small enough that you can comprehend all the actors, motives, and agendas impacting the community, second impression: most serious business takes place behind the scenes through alliances that are difficult to fathom from the perspective of an outsider)
  2. Traveling to Avery Island and the Tobasco Sauce Factory (considering just how deeply eccentric the Mclhenney family actually is, purchasing rubber crawfish at the Tobasco gift shop, considering how southeast asia, exoticism and romanticism inspired the landscaping of the Mclhenney’s “Jungle Garden” complete with pagoda and buddha purched on top of an artificial hill and lagoon) 2/5
  3. Visiting the Chitimacha Casino (delicious cacaphony, every depressing thing you ever imagined about casino life, and excellent omelettes) 2/5
  4. Hearing the DPZ presentation in Lake Charles (excellent Planning History of San Diego presentation by Howard Blackson; bumping into Andres; other presentations very interesting; nothing is dumbed down it seems; my thinkpad t30’s video card dies from ati2dvig.dll woes) 2/6
  5. Meeting the DPZ team and Duany when their focus shifts to my parish, Vermilion (exciting! and they’re using my Community Basline draft; all these designers and planners are slim, wearing black turtlenecks, and expensive watches) 2/13
  6. Listening to the best public radio station I’ve ever heard, KRVS (Not only local programming by excellent local djs playing their favorite new and old Zydeco and Cajun Music, but also incredible progrmaming for avante-garde electronic, harp, swing, and everything else; hearing syndicated PRI programs here that I never knew existed)
  7. The Abbeville Meridional has a new writer, a young woman who I met at the City Bar and sang Summertime Rolls by Jane’s Addiction with. She just wrote a fine article, her third first page lead story since she was hired as a reporter and editor a week ago. She’s also a waitress in Abbeville’s Riverfront restaurant. It’s really exciting to see someone in the process of moving ahead in their life!
  8. Attending Duany’s presentations for Vermilion Parish (brilliant ideas for a New Erath, biofuel, mixed use development and creation of a sense of place at the port in Delcambre, reorienting the entrance to Main Street Abbeville from the LA 14 bypass that has been economically strangling the city for the last 20 years, good stuff but wondering how any of this will be accepted by a community which seems resigned to incremental dumb growth developments and a political body unfamiliar with planning, zoning, or code enforcement) 2/13-17
  9. Writing. Lots of writing. (16 hour days)
  10. Representing my team in Baton Rouge (getting props from the Magic Kingdom) 2/15
  11. Getting fired. Getting rehired. (along with my team, along with all of the Long Term Community Recovery Teams in all the affected parishes of Louisiana; probably appeared to stem from FEMA seeking to cut costs and looking for programs to “put on hold”) 2/9-11
  12. Making the pilgrimage to Jews in the Woods north of Stroudsburg, PA. Taking my first “rotation”, a three day vactaion granted by my parent contractor to its TACs every 28 days. (I am a TAC).
  13. Writing and thinking about crawfish, cute little freshwater lobsters. Folks here eat these delightful crustaceans.
  14. Writing about my team, our morale, those who’ve stayed, those who’ve left, and those who went snarking never to be found again.
  15. Davening with the Jews of Lafayette, Louisiana. (I will never get used to the call and respond liturgy familiar to American Reform Jews.)

Slacker (1991) is a film by Richard Linklater.

About Aharon N. Varady

Aharon's Omphalos is the hobbit hole of Aharon Varady, founding director of the Open Siddur Project. He is a community planner and environmental educator working to improve stewardship of the Public Domain, be it the physical and natural commons of urban park systems or the creative and cultural commons of libraries and museums. His advocacy for open-source strategies in the Jewish community has been written about in the Atlantic Magazine, the Yiddish Forverts, Tablet, and Haaretz. He is particularly interested in pedagogies for advancing ecological wisdom, developing creative and emotional intelligence, and realizing effective theurgical praxes . He welcomes your comments, personal messages, and kind words. If you find his work helpful to your own or you'd simply like to support him, please consider donating via his Patreon account.

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