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When it rains, it pours

January 14, 2008 | Traveling,Vacation,Weird things

So I need to call my credit-card company tomorrow and see if someone there will turn on the spigot again. Said someone apparently thinks another someone stole our credit card to buy plane tickets to exactly the destination we so desperately wanted to reach. I guess it’s not completly out of the realm of possibility that some thievin’ Scandihoovian might want to visit Disney World on my tab. But, really. If you were to steal a credit card and buy plane tickets, wouldn’t you pick somewhere like, oh, I don’t know … somewhere other than the same place the person you stole it from lives?

Dammitanyway. I’ve got to figure out what this is all about. Maybe I exceeded my quota of plane tickets.

Update: Oops. I’m an idiot. After a conversation that went something like, “You’re over your credit limit.” “But … but … no, I’m not.” Umm, yes. I am. I apparently missed that the parentheses around the “available credit limit” means the number is, ahem, a negative. Yeah, so I’m the only person alive with such a teeny-tiny credit limit (and only one credit card) that five plane tickets can max it out and break the bank. Sigh. Well, I don’t have TiVo or one of those iPod thingies either. So there.

Posted by Becky @ 12:37 am | Comments  

A day late and a (few thousand) dollar(s) short

January 11, 2008 | Airlines,Blogging,Norway,Traveling,Vacation


But, hey, I’m back! (And, yeah, that’s what it looked like up there. A lot.)

First off, thank you, thank you, thank you to all the incredible guest bloggers for keeping the blogfires burning while I was gone!

I have a ton of photographs to go through, bags to unpack and boxes of Christmas gifts yet to open. I also have massive blog updates to do. In the meantime, here’s an update.

  • The good: The travel to our destination went surprisingly well.
  • The bad: That’s the last thing to go “surprisingly well.”
  • The ugly: Puking (and other unmentionables) started the day after we arrived and ended, oh, about two weeks later after three trips to the on-call doctor and one overnight stay at the hospital for IV fluids and attacking every, single one of us and then some.
  • The travel from our destination? FUBAR.
    • Missed the overseas flight — even though we called ahead to the airline (which rhymes with Rocksuckernental) to tell them our first flight was delayed and sprinted the entire length of the airport — by literally five minutes.
    • The plane was still there. They just wouldn’t let us board. So we watched it leave with 12 empty seats, five of which were ours, paid in full.
    • Haris the Gatekeeper said our only option was to show up the next morning and wait on “standby.” Or we could buy new tickets, even though that wouldn’t guarantee our seats. Or we could check out other options with other airlines. And, oh yeah, if that didn’t work out, he would be “happy” to see us again the next morning. (I didn’t tell him where I would be “happy” to see him … you know, burning and gnashing teeth and all.)
    • We spent the next several hours checking our nonexistent options. I will never go to Vegas. (I may be unlucky, but I’m not brain-dead.) Here’s what happened.
      • New tickets with no guarantees — $6,000
      • Hotel room with one bed, one crib and five bodies — $300
      • Three hot dogs, an order of fries, some yogurt and juice from the airport kiosk — $50 (instead of $175 for five burgers and no drinks at the hotel)
      • Less than an hour on the Internet to check in and print boarding passes (without which I am certain we’d still be wandering the Oslo airport) — $30
      • 1 child with a fever, 3 weeks in Winter Wonderland with no snow and Haris telling us the next morning that we “probably would have been fine on standby” (meaning we gambled away the equivalent of, oh, about two months of his annual salary) and the fact that I let him walk away from me and continue breathing — priceless
  • How long before I do this again? Infinity. As we said from the security of our seats in the air, “Buh-bye, Oslo. See ya NEVER!”
Posted by Becky @ 6:14 pm | 15 Comments  

Green for Danger

January 8, 2008 | Uncategorized

I am Veronica Mitchell and I usually blog over at Toddled Dredge. Becky and I have never met in real life, but she asked me to guest post for her during her exciting international travels and high living. I expect to be sent a picture of any new tattoos. Or “tats,” as the cool people call them.

I don’t write about politics on my blog, so I was a little tempted to write a political post for Deep Muck Big Rake, especially after so many other guest-posters did. But trying to craft a political post is a bit tricky for me. I waver between philosophical statements about the nature of communal moral responsibility and less cogent arguments like “Bite me, hippie.” So it’s probably best for Becky if I hone my own political expression before I try it out on her blog. For now, I will just continue rubbing my money-stained Republican hands together, laughing maniacally, as I oppress the poor and conspire to re-institute the draft.

Instead, I will tell you about one of my favorite movies, recently released on DVD.

Green for Danger is a murder mystery set in a wartime hospital in England. The characters and the plot are not much different than any of the hospital dramas currently on television, once you take into account the sexism and censorship of the day. There are a handful of gorgeous women (nurses only, of course – this was 1944), the requisite unattractive-but-clever woman, and two male doctors who vie for the affections of the hottest nurse.

What makes this movie worth watching is Alastair Sim, who plays Inspector Cockrill, the detective assigned to solve the mysterious murders at the hospital. Sim’s most famous role, of course, is Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, but if you’ve never seen him in anything else, consider watching Green for Danger.

He mesmerized me. I could watch that man just sit in a chair and be entertained. He has the unnerving comic grace of Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, but none of Depp’s beauty, which oddly makes me enjoy him more. Sim strikes just the right note, treating murder as deadly serious, while amusing himself thoroughly with its investigation.

From his first entry into the hospital, Sim steals the show. This homely old guy keeps every eye on him. In one of my favorite scenes, the suave doctor is trying to seduce the hot nurse in the garden by quoting Shakespeare to her. He is getting somewhere when the Inspector appears out of nowhere and tops his quotation with later lines from the same play:

In such a night / Did young Lorenzo swear he loved her well, / Stealing her soul with many vows of faith, / and ne’er a true one.

Then, having thoroughly doused Dr. Ladies’ Man, the Inspector says good night.

The movie includes one of those highly implausible reenactments of the crime, and this one appears to exist in a world completely free of medical ethics, but despite this flaw, the film is delightful. In the middle of a terrible war, in a plot about terrible crimes, Sim and the writers found humor and poise and laughter.

As Inspector Cockrill said (not that this has any relevance to the appearance of my Republican self in the midst of so many Democrat guest-bloggers), “My presence lay over the hospital like a pall — I found it all tremendously enjoyable.”

Posted by Veronica @ 10:09 pm | 14 Comments  

The Presidency…Let’s Outsource


Hi. Todd here from The Bullshit Observer with my second guest post to Deep Muck, Big Rake.

If you’re like me, you’ve grown ever tired with the shabby collection of domestic presidential wanna-be’s every four years. It’s year after year of America’s cheesiest, slimiest, glibbest, fakest, most corrupt individuals (with really great hair) saying whatever they feel they need to say to get the largest number of people to say, “Well, I like that. I think I’ll check his box.”  I’m tired of it. I’m sure you are too. So I vote we outsource that job to one of our trading partners.

“Wouldn’t this create a conflict of interest?”  you ask. Well, yes. That’s true. But the important question is whether the conflict of interest in question would be any greater than the kinds of conflicts of interest that we’re already used to. Conflicts of interest like a former oil man becoming President and refusing to join the Kyoto Accord and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Would it be more of a conflict of interest than appointing former industry big wigs to be in charge of industry watch dog groups? Yeah, I’m thinking what sort of conflict of interest would a chap from Mogudishu have that would be worse than that?

I can’t think of one.

“But what sort of qualifications would they have to run America?” you ask. I don’t know the answer to that. But let’s say we could get someone in with a joint doctorate in Foreign Relations and American History from Harvard who happens to be from Japan. That alone would make him or her more qualified than our current President. No doubt they’d speak better English too. As an added bonus, he/she’d be able to find Japan on the map.

We’d need a constitutional amendment allowing foreign born citizens the right to run for President, of course. I’m not a total idiot. But how hard can that be?

Considering how much time our current president spends in Texas, our off-shore President could probably work remotely and call into meetings with the joint chiefs.

And think how much cheaper that person would be!

Seriously. Think about it. There are a lot of advantages to having an off-shore President.

Posted by Todd @ 9:29 pm | 1 Comment  

Hmmmm? What to write?

January 6, 2008 | Politics

When Becky sent out the word for guest posters I gladly accepted and started pondering what I would write about. But before I get to that, allow me to introduce myself, I’m Kemp of Kemp’s Blog (I know, imaginative title isn’t it) and The BushWhacked Administration (as well as Draft Day Suit and The Blogfathers) and Becky is what I call one of my ‘blogmigos’. We met through a mutual blogmigo who, like Becky and I, has twins.

Rather than posisbly upsetting the applecart with my political views, which you can see HERE, I thought I would play it closer to the vest, and thus safer, and present my Top Political Quotes from 2007.  The reason is multi-faceted; it won’t upset anyone, it’s not neccessarily partisan, and it is, quite simply, easy.

 Is that a cop-out? Perhaps.

Is it entertaining? Absolutely.

So without any further ado, enjoy:

  • “Put your big-girl panties on.” – Education Secretary Margaret Spellings’ advice to deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino, who replaced Tony Snow as White House press secretary (Meowwwww
  • “Think about it. Rudy Giuliani. There’s… there’s only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, a verb and 9/11. I mean there’s nothing else.” – former Democratic presidential contender Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware (very nice Mr. Biden. Unfortunately you also said this this past year:)
  • “You got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) on Barack Obama
  • “Um, no.” – Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on whether he misses President Bush (Ouch… not words you want to hear from your one-time BFF)
  • “Dumb as hell.” –President Richard Nixon, on tape, talking about Fred Thompson (Being called dumb by Nixon? That’s gotta hoit)
  • “It was an unidentified flying object, OK? It’s, like, it’s unidentified.” Rep. Dennis Kucinich on his UFO sighting (do I really need to say anything else?)
  • “I don’t recall.” Former U.S. Attorney General and Bush(whacked) Administration Albatross Alberto Gonzales
  • “I’m not going to get into a name-calling match with somebody (Vice President Dick Cheney) who has a 9% approval rating.” – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Ouch)
  • “I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history.” – Former President Jimmy Carter (pretty hard to argue with that…)
  • “(I have) a wide stance when going to the bathroom.” Senator Larry Craig trying to explain why his foot touched the foot of an undercover police officer in an airport men’s room known for gay pick-ups (Gonna take me another 2 weeks to get that image out of my head…)
  • “I would not refuse to meet Barry Manilow.” – Mitt Romney. (Reason enough to not vote for him…)
  • “You never point your gun at the carcass of a dead animal.” — Mike Huckabee. (Um, good safety tip, thanks Egon)
  • “And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I’m sorry it’s the case, and I’ll work hard to try to elevate it.” – “President” George W. Bush (I think it speaks for itself, doesn’t it?)

Hope you enjoyed these

Posted by Kemp @ 11:00 am | 3 Comments  

Iowa: Smelling the Fear and the Hope

January 5, 2008 | 2008 campaign,Guest blogger,Journalism,Politics

Hello everyone, this is Keith, otherwise known as The Bad American, guest blogging here at Deep Muck Big Rake for today.

I have to say looking at all the guest bloggers that have blogged before me, I feel honored and not the least intimidated to join this august group. Thanks again Becky for the opportunity.

I was at a loss as to what to write about today. I saw this wonderful piece by John Hockenberry, which I will link to here because I feel anyone with a passing familiarity or experience with the major media can both appreciate Hockenberry’s lament and commiserate with it.

Rather than write a 1,000 word pontification on the article, let me, for once, be succinct: no one who works for big media should expect to cover, produce, write or otherwise disseminate, any news that does not reflect the biases, prejudices, politics and financial interests of Corporate America.

The truth is out there, Scully. And it’s probably on a blog.

But let’s get to what everyone seems to be wondering in the wake of the news from Thursday: how long will they hold Britney Spears?

Kidding, kidding.

No, something serious: a 92 percent Caucasian state sends Barack Obama to New Hampshire (another lily white state) as the front-runner and suddenly Queen Hillary doesn’t seem so inevitable.

Should we allow ourselves a bit of irrational exuberance?

Well, perhaps. Let’s be honest about the situation: Obama played Iowa beautifully. Having lived in the state for three years before moving back to Ohio, the state rewards straight shooters and plain speakers. They do not cotton to those who double speak, look too well oiled or rehearsed, and show up to hay bailing in immaculately pressed overalls. Iowans know bullshit when then see it. What they saw in Obama was nothing but someone they think might make a very decent President.

And after all the bludgeoning by the Clinton machine, they grew tired of her act. It’s not that Iowans have something against the idea of another Clinton: Iowa Democrats are still wild about Bill. It’s just that Hillary Clinton, like relatives and fish, did not wear well.

It doesn’t mean New Hampshire won’t put her back in the lead — they just might. But it’s a cautionary tale when campaigning “out there”: Midwesterners have a lower threshold for production values than they do on the coasts. Learn it.

And if Obama hadn’t been so damned fresh and Kennedy-esque, the state might have rewarded John Edwards with a big win. Iowans generally like the South Carolinian but his populist message was driven home a little too late. When Barack Obama is the flavor of the year, me-tooism isn’t going to get your first place ticket punched.

And yet, the most fascinating aspect of the Iowa caucus was the amazing story of Mike Huckabee.

The real story here isn’t just Huckabee as the flavor of the week, nor is that Iowa’s evangelical Christians gave Huck the big push.

That’s all true. But what floors me as a former religion journalist in Cedar Rapids is that Huckabee’s brand of evangelical Christianity is closer to Jimmy Carter’s than Pat Robertson’s.

Mike Huckabee might have floating crosses traipsing across his ads but he has a social conscience that his giving the rest of the conservative Republicans the fits.

Link to this Paul Szep cartoon

The amazing thing that happened in that, at some point, maybe under undue prodding from folks like Rick Warren, a major faction of Christian Conservatives looked down at those WWJD bracelets and the thought hit them: maybe Jesus wouldn’t be for a capital gains tax cut after all. Maybe, just maybe, there was a little bit more to life than the mindless pursuit of material wealth.

But try telling it to the minders of the so-called “Reagan revolution.”

These guardians of wealth and privilege are rising from the muck to remind their yokel fellow travelers that all the God talk might be nice for the campaign trail but the real reason people are on the GOP train is greed.

Hugh Hewitt sees Huckabee as a stalking horse for pro-John McCain forces who used Huck’s Christian conservative base to decapitate Mitt Romney in Iowa and set up McCain for New Hampshire. But Hewitt sees something else even more dastardly afoot:

“Third, the conservative activists have to realize that there is an attempted coup under way. (The New York Times Columnist David) Brooks attacks by name Wall Street and K Street, Rush Limbaugh, The Club for Growth and President Bush, asserting that they constitute the “leadership class,” and that Huckabee’s war on them all was fueled by a knowledge of “how middle-class anxiety is really lived.” Brooks adds that Huck is forging:

A conservatism that loves capitalism but distrusts capitalists is not hard to imagine either. Adam Smith felt this way. A conservatism that pays attention to people making less than $50,000 a year is the only conservatism worth defending.

What utter nonsense. Did the tax cuts help families making less than $50 K a year? Did the prescription drug benefit? Does not getting attacked since 9/11 benefit only the middle and upper classes?

Will such neopopulism work? Nah. Even Brooks disowns it in the space of a couple of lines. Here is one of the most cynical graphs ever written on the day after an election:

Will Huckabee move on and lead this new conservatism? Highly doubtful. The past few weeks have exposed his serious flaws as a presidential candidate. His foreign policy knowledge is minimal. His lapses into amateurishness simply won’t fly in a national campaign.

Let me translate the NewYorkTimes-speak: “Thanks, you bozos in the sticks. We played you like a fiddle. Now it is time to bleed your guy to get our guy.”

Utter nonsense, Mr. Hewitt? The inability of Guardians of the Neo-Con Cabal in the GOP (for that is who they really are) to remove their bloated heads from their asses and smell the fear has already cost them Iowa and may possibly cost them their boy’s (Mitt’s) shot at the nomination.

All because a group of people are suddenly becoming the kind of Republicans Pat Buchanan had been envisioning for the last 15 years. Rampant job-killing free-trade agreements, hopelessly bloody foreign wars and a culture of turn a fast buck at all costs are suddenly far less popular in the Heartland.

And all it took was the near total destruction of the US dollar, US economy and US military to get the slumbering masses to realize they’d been suckered by the ghost of failed Reaganism — “trickle down” turned into a torrent of foreclosures, flag-draped caskets and unemployment lines. And now they want to set the ship straight.

Here’s Rush Limbaugh’s little brother David’s take:

“Far too many people believe we can continue to piggyback on our legacy of freedom, which is made possible by limited government no matter how big and intrusive government becomes. They believe we can undermine, with impunity, the constitutional pillars that guaranty our liberties, apparently assuming our glorious experiment in constitutional governance was an accident of geography or demographics rather than ideas. They believe we will always be the world’s lone superpower irrespective of whether we commit our spirit and resources to that effort. It’s just manifest destiny — or magic. Consider, for example, those who interpret our prevention of further major terrorist attacks on our soil since 9/11 as proof the threat has diminished, or perhaps was overblown from the beginning.

We expect liberals to believe: We can punish the producers in this nation without reducing overall output and hurting all economic groups; we can socialize health care without destroying its quality, quantity and affordability; we can assault our traditional values and cultural institutions without eroding the nation’s character; unbridled, illegal immigration without assimilation will lead to multicultural Nirvana; and we will be secure at home if we’ll just be nicer to foreign nations and more sensitive to the terrorists’ concerns.

But what about conservatives? Do we also need a reminder that free nations are the exception in world history and that our liberty was purchased with the greatest sacrifices and will ultimately disappear without a rededication to our founding principles?

Whoa, someone get Dave some smelling salts. You’d think the Red Army had already hit America’s shores and was working their way inland. All that bloviating from Huckabee winning Iowa — are they really this scared?

There are many other examples of this hyperventilating going on from the pro-war, pro-plutocracy neo-cons online. This link has a good number of examples. You won’t know whether to laugh, cheer or hurl.

What amazes me is that, as a liberal, I look at Huckabee, with his young Earth theories, Biblical literalism and anti-intellectualism as a smiling, yet dangerous threat to take America back to the dark ages a good deal faster than even the Bush gang.

But isn’t it fascinating that when the ChristCons start making noises that they might be ready to, at least in some ways, use their political clout to live out the Gospel as Jesus taught it — compassion for the less fortunate — that their “friends” rise up to drag them back to the right side of the plantation.

So have we really ripped the smiling face off the monster of the Reagan Revolution? Behind the grinning face of God-fearing, Middle Class white America, when you strip out all the bullshit niceties, it’s really, at core, all about the Military-Industrial complex raping and pillaging the planet.

I know: well, duh!But the cons have done such a good job selling the “rising tide lifts all boats” nonsense for so long that many religiously devout Americans have really believed that Jesus wanted savage wealth inequalities, social persecution and worldwide wars and that such things were good for America, GM, and the planet.

Now all that’s left is Rush Limbaugh screaming that it’s all about the guns and the money. And it always was.

So take heart, fellow progressives. Between the rise of Obama and the last protective masks being ripped from a ghoulish and soul killing political chicanery, there is at last, if perhaps for a fleeting moment, some reason for a little optimism.

But the neo-cons will not go quietly. And they are counting on the American public, dumbed down by years of being mis-taught their history, of falling for the same old scare tactics again and again. And in the end, they may be right.

But the American progressives have the opportunity now to really step forward and, if the future be Obama, keep him to his promises and especially to make sure that this rise of populism du jour isn’t just used as a fancy way of whipping up the disaffected but translates into actual policy that undoes years of damage to our body politic and social fabric.

And I’ve been reluctant to jump on Obama’s bandwagon. Then I read this post by Geoffrey R. Stone in Huffpo which contained this excerpt:

Shortly after Obama announced his candidacy for the Senate, I attended (and, indeed, co-hosted) a major fundraising event in Chicago for the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation. At one point, I spotted Obama moving gracefully through the crowd, chatting amiably with each individual, dutifully pressing the flesh. As I observed him, I thought to myself, “What a waste. This is demeaning. Barack should forget politics and become a full-time law professor. Then he could really make something of himself.”

A few minutes later, I found myself standing next to Obama at the shrimp bowl. Although it was really none of my business, I decided to impart some of my wisdom. “Barack,” I said, “I’ve been watching you out there, making nice to all these folks. Why are you doing this? Given the realities of politics, you know as well as I that there’s no chance you’ll get the nomination, let alone defeat (Senator Patrick) Fitzgerald. Why don’t you just pack all this in and accept a full-time position on the faculty?” Barack smiled and thoughtfully replied, “Geof, I know where you’re coming from, but, you know, I have to do this. I believe I can make a difference. I have a responsibility to try.” As he blended back into the crowd, I thought, “What a waste.”

Read again the quote I highlighted. Suck it in just a little. I have to assume the quote is true and the sentiments behind it are honest and heartfelt.

And I am stunned, that in a age of selfishness, crassness and a general feeling that all politicians are ego-serving power-trippers here comes someone who honestly believes that with the intellectual gifts he has been given and developed, comes great responsibility and a calling to, as hokey as it sounds, leave the world a better place.

So for Obama and his legion of starry-eyed children, this will take a lot of work and will not be for weak hearts. After all, Alan Nairn on Democracy Now alleges warmonger Zbigniew Brzezinski is advising Obama on foreign policy (as he did Jimmy Carter) and the specter of super delegatesmake the possibility of a very un-democratic outcome. But this moment in time may represent our last best chance to turn back the march to total corporatism/fascism that threatens to place our nation and our planet on an irretrievable course to destruction.

And we all need to seize this moment now.

Posted by Keith @ 5:08 pm | Comments  

Get Your Costumes Ready

Blogging,Friends,Guest blogger,Guest post,Stuff,Weird things

Crawfish costumes on Bourbon StreetGet your costumes ready. It’s nearly Carnival Time — also known as Mardi Gras. Hi folks, I’m guest blogger Laurel — also known as Road Trip Mom — and the editor/owner of MomsMinivan.com. Formerly I also wrote a Katrina Returnee blog, but those days are long behind me now. I prefer to focus on the fun times that still continue at my former home in New Orleans. Like Mardi Gras – my favorite holiday.

That’s right, a real holiday — as in banks are closed, no school, no mail delivery, everyone gets the day off to eat, drink, and be merry. It’s actually more than just a holiday – it’s a whole season. New Orleans really only has two seasons: Summer and Mardi Gras. Just one more day until the debauchery begins. January 6th is Twelfth Night which marks the start of Mardi Gras season which then comes to it’s grand conclusion on Fat Tuesday.

One of my favorite Mardi Gras Day memories was the first Fat Tuesday following Hurricane Katrina. I spent it with my friend Devra. Being that it was the first Mardi Gras after Katrina we weren’t really sure what to expect, but we were not going to miss it, and we were going in full costume, of course. Mardi Gras is infinitely more fun if you are in costume.

Crawfish Et ToupeeWe decided to put a spin on one of our favorite local dishes, Crawfish Etoufée, and wear it as our costume. We found some crazy crawfish hats and added little brown wigs, and covered ourselves from head to toe with rubber crawfish. We wore little signs that said, “Chef Special: Crawfish Et Toupee”.

We started out with a quick breakfast in the outdoor patio at Cafe Dumonde by the river (a popular tourist spot). Beignets and cafe au lait hit the spot and tourists immediately began to swarm us like papparizi wanting our picture. We obliged and then proceeded into the French Quarter for some bizzare people watching and more photo ops. Costumers were basically in two catagories that year: those in traditional “anything goes” costumes, and those in Katrina themed costumes.

We were in the anything goes group, as was this cute couple dressed as Got MILF? and these guys dressed as a fur burger and bearded clam. We also saw a guy dressed as the Yellow Brick Road. He had a whole group of people dressed as Wizard of Oz characters who were ….. following him. The French Quarter swelled with party goers and costumers galore. The overall turnout was huge, which says a lot for the spirit of the people of New Orleans.

Some of our favorite Katrina costumers were these folks wearing rubber inner tubes so they’d be ready for the next flood. We also saw people dressed as duct taped Rotten Refridgerators, Blue Tarped Roofs, and even Mardi Gras Maggots. We laughed out loud at the Ho Depot Ladies, Looters with Hooters, and my all time favorite Blind Levee Inspectors. (I posted all our photos at Mardi Gras Costume Pics.com)

We hit a few parades, listened to some live music, and enjoyed the sights. We eventually stopped in a restaurant for a little lunch — you would think it would be hard to find food on a day so crowded, but it never is. Parking is never a problem either if you know where to go.

After lunch, it was time to wave hello to the Internet Bourbo cam, and then go in for a little karaoke at the Cat’s Meow. I am not exaggerating when I say that we brought down the house with our rendition of “Respect” dressed as crawfish ladies. Gawd, I love singing karaoke. Especially when I’m wearing a mask….. and a score of rubber crustaceans.

As the afternoon went on, the streets became more and more crowded. It was a good time to try to find a balcony for a better view. I happen to know that there are several bars that will let people wearing cool costumes use their balconies for free. From our high perch, we danced to the music and taunted tourists below with our supply of beads while they waved and clamoured for us to throw them down. It was like being a rock star for a day.

At one point during our adventure, I took a photo of Devra using a trash can to actually throw away some trash. We wanted to set a good example for others. Maybe start a trend.

Eventually we headed home with our photos and memories of a wonderful day. Everyone should experience Mardi Gras at least once in their life. And you simply MUST wear a costume. You can be anything you want. And if you just can’t come up with a costume, you can always just wear your suitcase. That works too.

Posted by Laurel @ 3:07 am | Comments  

Today, I declare my candidacy

January 3, 2008 | 2008 campaign,Guest blogger,Guest post

My fellow Americans…

Today is the dawn of a new day. A day that offers hope for a troubled nation. A day that, in years to come, will be seen as the turning point in renaissance of the United States of America. Today, dear friends, I declare my candidacy for the office of President of The United States of America.

While I may be slow entering the race, that’s only because I have many of the same problems as you. For instance, my car started making a funny noise last week and I only found time to get it to the mechanic today. The milk in the refrigerator is three days past it’s due date and, because I had no time to stop off at the store, I convinced my kids that the milk tastes funny because it’s Magic Milk that will allow them to become big and strong.

You see, my fellow Americans, I am just like you.

And we need an every day American in the White House! And while I may have missed out on Iowa, New Hampshire voters are sure to take notice as I roll out my platform.

For instance, as the father of twins I pledge to make baby changing tables mandatory in every public restroom from L.A. to New York City. I pledge to make grocery carts seat two kids so a parent no longer has to choose between grocery shopping and chasing after kids.

I pledge to bring back cough syrup – and make it work this time! Every <del>parent</del> child deserves to sleep through the night without coughing up a lung. This is the most technologically advanced society on earth. We made Post-its but we can’t make a safe cough syrup? I know we can do better!

I will be tough on immigration! Dora The Explorer has infiltrated our homes and poses a threat to every man, woman and child in this country. She sets a bad example for our children, cavorting with monkeys and straying far and wide from her parents. We will finally send big-headed kids back where they came from!

I will force all toy companies to face the real issues confronting parents today. Forget lead poisoning, we need to force toy companies to make toys that all operate under one size battery. No more D’s, C’s, AA, AAA, or 9-volt batteries. We demand uniformity and I will make sure we get it!

Health care in this country needs an overhaul. If elected president, I will make sure that all Band-Aids come with smiley faces and rainbows. Every doctor will actually have to listen to a parent’s concern or risk losing their license. No more condescending nods and insincere smiles from our pediatricians!

Finally, I promise to get tough on terror. If elected President I promise to protect every man, woman and child from the evil forces that exist in our country. I will do everything in my power to beat back the infiltration of two of the most terrifying forces our country confronts today. Yes, I promise that we will rid our society from Barney the Purple Dinosaur and Elmo, the red-haired freak with a tickling fetish.

There you are, my fellow Americans. As you can see I represent you, the every day American. I am in touch with what American needs to make this an even better society. Vote for me this year and I promise to make your life better.  You can find more of my values and ideas by visiting my website at www.childsplayx2.com.

Posted by Matthew @ 2:42 pm | 5 Comments  

Gentlemanly Conduct

January 2, 2008 | Daddy bloggers,Ethics,Family,Guest blogger,Guest post,Opinion,Parenting,Politics,Quotes

(Guest Post by Todd, The Bullshit Observer. How I know Becky: I’m just another blog-mirer.) New Years day, My 5 year old and I took a break from watching college football to play wiffle baseball in the back yard. At one point he had a little tantrum and threw his bat. As is my fatherly duty, I scolded him. “OK, not cool. You don’t throw your bat when you’re upset, Nick,” He picked up the bat and hit a few. Then he threw his bat again and I immediately barked, “Nick, that is unsportsman-like conduct,” somehow expecting him to know what that means.  “What does that mean?” he asked.  “It means that it’s….not cool….and….not how you are supposed to behave when you play baseball,” I said, somewhat feebly. “It’s not respectful of the game or your fellow players,” I added.  Then I thought, “Well, what the hell does that mean?”  Then I started thinking. Where has the idea of sportsmanlike conduct gone anyway? I just watched at least a half-dozen college football players get busted for late hits, pushing opponents, and celebrating in their opponent’s face. That kind of behavior seemed normal. Even routine. Then it occurred to me that the ideal of gentlemanly conduct (which “Sportmenship” is based upon and which can be defined as acting with an acute sense of respect and propriety), is one that is in dire need of a revival.When I pledged a fraternity in college, the active members made us “poopies” (pledges) memorize a poem by John Walter Waylen entitled, “The True Gentelman.” It goes like this: 

The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.     

The idea of this passage was clearly too good for the fellows that made me memorize it in the back of a station-wagon at 80 miles per hour with a hood over my head and then recite it while a match burned down to the tips of my fingers. Oh precious irony. Oh precious Neosporin.  As we hop back into our lives this January 2nd, let us take a moment to absorb this ideal. Ladies too, for this is surely a gender generic idea with a gender specific name. Unlikely though it may seem, especially during an election cycle, it is possible for this true gentleman/gentlewoman ideal to make a comeback. Let us resolve ourselves to expect nothing less that this. Because if we start expecting dirty, underhanded behavior from those around us, above us or in the spotlight, then we will have accepted it and we will have succumbed to it and then the new ideal will more closely resemble Machiavelli’s The Prince. In a sense, that’s really what this blog, Deep Muck Big Rake, is all about. Isn’t it?

Posted by Todd @ 2:43 pm | 3 Comments  


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