Friday, January 29, 2010

The Who Dat Nation Says Fiddle-Dee-Dee, Among Other Things

And you thought it was all about football and team spirit and the coming-true of grandiose dreams. Wrong! It's about the NFL capitalizing on every penny imaginable, even if that means sending "Cease and Desist" letters to mom-and-pop businesses trying to make a buck off of long-standing tradition.

From today's news accounts, however, the Who Dats are NOT going quietly into that good legal theorem. They're standing up, still accepting orders online, and taking ownership of this piece of southeast Louisiana heritage (I know this because I ordered a cute tee shirt that says "Supa*BEAUXL" from yesterday afternoon!) . Let's just watch the Commish issue a warning for me to forsake my Who Dat gear. You can wrench my cute Who Dat tee-shirts from my cold, dead fingers!

One of our Senators has weighed in on the skirmish (in all fairness, however, I must admit that he's the Senator who's running for re-election and must be just soaking up all this free publicity!) I got this email a few minutes ago:

January 29, 2010

Roger Goodell, Commissioner
National Football League
280 Park Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10017

Dear Commissioner Goodell:

I was stunned to learn recently that the NFL is taking the position that it owns the exclusive trademark of the term "Who Dat" and has even threatened legal action against some mom-and-pop merchants selling t-shirts using the term. I would urge you to drop this obnoxious and legally unsustainable position and instead agree that "Who Dat" is in the public domain, giving no one exclusive trademark rights.

This letter will also serve as formal legal notice that I am having t-shirts printed that say "WHO DAT say we can't print Who Dat!" for widespread sale in commerce. Please either drop your present ridiculous position or sue me.

"Who Dat" was probably first heard in New Orleans minstrel shows well over 130 years ago. Much more recently, but before it was used in connection with the Saints, it was used as a rallying cry by St. Augustine High School in New Orleans. In the 1980s it was adopted by Saints fans in a completely spontaneous way. Only later did any legal persons, including the Saints and the NFL, try to claim it through registration.

Perhaps more significant than this history, "Who Dat" has become part of New Orleans and Louisiana popular culture. For the NFL to try to claim exclusive ownership of it would be like me registering and trying to claim exclusive ownership of the terms "lagniappe" and "laissez les bons temps rouler!"

Under Paul Tagliabue's leadership, the NFL was an unbelievable partner in helping us recover and rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Thank you again. We look forward to your dropping your "Who Dat" position so that this partnership can continue without strain or blemish.

David Vitter
Junior Senator of Who Dat Nation

I kinda like one new shirt that says, "Who could it be that asserts it will prevail in its upcoming sporting contest over the New Orleans professional football team?" on the front and "Take Dat!" on the back. Heh.

It's a strange, strange world.

UPDATE: The NFL has seen the light! Dat's right!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Moogie's Post-Mortem of the State of the Unionized Extravaganza

Just a couple of observations about the State of the Unionized speech last night --

(1) Apparently no one told Michelle that the SOTU speech is a business-attire event, not a cocktail-attire event. Purple satin? Really?

(2) One positive: unlike during last year's address to Congress, this year Pelosi appeared to be faking all her jump-up-and-down O-rgasms. Do you suppose he's man enough to deal with that?

(3) I have to agree with Andy: seeing one's Secretary of Homeland Defense -- the guardian of our security -- take a little nap during her boss's big appearance is more than a little disquieting.

(4) The Young President v. The Supreme Court. STOP! in the name of love! Think it oh-oh-ver!

(5) Using the phrases, "jobs," "clean energy," and "working families" for trigger-words in the State of the Unionized Speech Drinking Game makes for a tipsy citizen-viewer.

(6) One hour, 25 minutes, 31 seconds? See: U.S. Constitution, Amendment 8. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

(7) Conspicuously absent: Foreign policy? What Foreign Policy?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Carnival Time!

Speaking of things other than the NFC Champions New Orleans Saints (don't you just love saying that: the NFC Champions New Orleans Saints!), the Super Bowl, New Orleans elections, and tonight's State of the Unionized Speech and Drinking Game, there are other goings-on in the Crescent City. Namely -- Carnival Season!

The irreverent Krewe du Vieux will roll through the Quarter on Saturday (the only Krewe with permission to roll in the Quarter), taking the following route. Just exactly how they depict their theme ("All Fired Up," because their den almost burned to the ground last summer!) is kept under wraps until parade day, but you can bet it'll not be "family-friendly!"

The weather is supposed to be really cold by southeast Louisiana standards so we may skip it, but I do want to go! We shall see.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

America's Military to the Rescue -- Again.

Just saw this at IMAO -- it's a great Pajamas Media video that actually gets it right about the American military.

Thanks to all our service members everywhere, and especially to those deployed to, or preparing to deploy, to Haiti. God Bless You and your Families!

Sorry About That, Pro Bowl. Not!

Who dat? Drew Dat!! Our Brees will blow through Miami the following week, thank you very much!

Monday, January 25, 2010

No Looting, No Rioting -- Just a Brass Band and . . .

Saints Video: Bourbon Street

So, I had to steal this from Elder Daughter.

THIS! This visually captures what I was trying to communicate about the joy in this city!

And, I love a couple of the comments posted about the video on

My favorite part of this video, the brass band. What other city in the world
would have a fan say: "our team is about to make the superbowl, party in the
streets...hold on, I gotta get my tuba!"

no rioting, looting, and burning cars? I thought that's what fans did to their
city when they win lol. As usual NOLA is a CLASS ACT. Geaux Saints!

How cool is that -- NOLA is a class act!!!!

Seriously -- this video will give you happy tears!

Two Words Are Irrevocably Linked Today: Saints and Destiny

When the Saints recovered that fumble near their own goal line to steal a momentum-shifting touchdown from the Vikes right before halftime, and I happened to catch a glimpse of the guest towel in our powder room during a "commercial" trip to the kitchen, a voice softly whispered one word in my mind: Destiny.

Two quarters and one overtime later, I believed.

I may leave this guest towel out ALL FREAKIN' YEAR!!!!!

What a party!! I just heard on the radio that police in the Quarter were actually encouraging reveling Saints fans to go home and go to bed as recently as 7:30 this morning! Fireworks went off all over the city after the final whistle, and kept on popping until well after midnight last night! We stood in the back courtyard to ooh and ahh for quite awhile.

Local television stations posted crews in the Quarter to report on the celebration from the usual Bourbon Street balconies, and their broadcasts showed crowds that rival those of Mardi Gras -- the kind of crowds in which you literally cannot get from Point A to Point B unless the entire crowd wants to go to Point B.

A friend emailed this morning that his ears were still ringing from the unbelieveable noise in the Dome, and that -- of course -- he hopes to get his voice back some time later in the week, having lost most of it while contributing to the din in the Dome that caused the Vikings to wear ear plugs!

Oh, to have been in that number!

But, savoring a victory from the couch tastes just as sweet as it would have when standing immobile on Bourbon Street. Ringing in the ears and laryingitis might not be too bad, though.

Next stop on the Destiny Train -- Miami. February 7th. Super Saintly Sunday!!!!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Kingdom for Two Tickets!!

GEAUX SAINTS!!!! It's a Who Dattin' kind of day on the Bayou! Send the Vikes packing off to Valhalla!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Superbowl Marketing Ploy du Jour

With all the Championship and Super Bowl buzz going on in this neck of the woods lately, this laminated flyer arrived in our mailbox yesterday from "Elite Celebrity Concierge." (Click to enlarge)


What the heck is an "Official Emerging Business" anyway? Do you suppose it's an unofficially "emerging" scam of the week?

The flyer and website claim that its founder or CEO or office manager (whoever the heck the featured young lady is) is "Licensed" as a Ticket Broker, Traveler Insurance Agent (Not "Travelers," mind you), Mortgage Broker, and Precious Metals Broker "just to name a few."

Precious Metals Broker? Huh? I suppose one needs new bling to sport while taking in the rays on the yacht or while dancing the night away in the "hottest clubs in Miami." One might need a little insurance. But, why would one possibly need a mortgage for a rental? Just what exactly is the price? Or the terms, for heaven's sake!

Creepy thoughts are fluttering around in my imagination right about now. . . .

There are some pretty ritzy properties depicted on the website -- not to mention the rather spiffy stable of rolling and floating stock. Think "Miami Vice," punctuated with smooth, repetitive, soft-porn-esque background music.

I'm thinking the rather physically-fit, scantily-clad young women in the lower right-hand of the flyer must be the housekeeping staff. Or something like that.

But the most curious thing is -- I'm kinda wondering how this particular flyer wound up in the mailbox at Moogie's Mansion. Do you suppose there's something Pepper isn't telling me?!?!

And I'm not at all certain that I want to know why the flyer is laminated.


Friday, January 22, 2010

There's a Spring in the City

New Orleans is a fascinating place to live. It's also a frustrating, and often expensive, place to live. I won't disclose what we pay in property taxes, but know that if I did, you might faint. We do, on a regular basis, when we think about it. It's an annual sporting event when the City Council fixes the millage rate and (fictional, we're convinced) roll-back of what we won't have to pay. We've lived here, full or part-time, since 1999 and have yet to have our tax bill rolled back. The budget process is less of a sporting event and more of an entertainment extravaganza -- entertaining for the Council, extravagant for us lowly taxpayers.

Property taxes don't even cover what we pay in fees, and more taxes, to the Sewerage and Water Board, individually and as a city. Yep, you read it correctly -- it's Sewerage and Water, not Sewage. There's some arcane distinction between the two that I don't care to go into at present.

I bring up the Sewerage and Water Board because its absence has been dramatically present in our neighborhood for two weeks now.

The spring you see featured in the photos above isn't a lovely, gurgling artesian well. It's a gurgling water main leak that has been pumping its little heart out up onto the street beside our house, down the gutter, and back into the storm drain that is also maintained by -- you got it -- the Sewerage and Water Board for, you guessed it, two weeks.

Fortunately for us, our water must come from a slightly different main because we've just experienced a slight loss in pressure. Not so fortunate, however, is our 80-some-odd-year-old neighbor who hasn't had enough pressure to take a decent shower for awhile, and had to pay a plumber to find out that it's the City's fault, not her plumbing's. Yep -- she called Al Bourgeois, too. We do love our Al Bourgeois in our neighborhood.

There have been Sewerage and Water Board minions hanging around in their trucks, writing things down on clipboards, and inspecting the gurgling fountain on at least three different occasions in the last week that have drawn my attention. Three different minions. All inspecting, scribbling, and truck-sitting.

And the fountain gurgles on, picking up volume from time to time.

Yesterday, Pepper wondered aloud who is paying for all that water. I pointed out that the fountain blossoms before it hits anyone's meter, so, we are all paying for it.

One prefers not to ponder how many other "fountains" are out there in New Orleans. It makes the head, and the pocketbook, throb.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Gratitude of a Republic

Consider yourself thanked!

Had a rough enough week yet, Nancy?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Mr. President! Love & Kisses, The TEA Partiers

One of our local TEA Party leaders, a Metairie orthodontist, sent this out last night -- his observation on the stunning Senate seat loss by the Progressives in Massachusetts. I'm still a little giddy about the whole thing, but won't rest and savor the victory for long. There are snarky emails and letters that need to be composed and sent to various denizens of D.C..

Oh, and just for the record, my man drives a big ol', camo-loaded, gun-and-dog-transporting, spit-cup-sporting truck, too! (It matters not that his other car is a Porsche -- it's the principle of the thing!)

Subject: Tea Party 2010: Happy Anniversary, Mr. Prez. May I Introduce You to Scott? He Drives a Truck.

Dear Patriots,

As I sat through a meeting last night, my phone began vibrating with text messages and voice mails. Instinctively, I knew the news was good. When I arrived home, my wife said "You better send an e-mail to your readers. They'll be expecting one." Funny, I didn't know I had "readers."

It took exactly one year for some voters to figure out they made a grave error in November 2008. It wasn't exactly the "CHANGE" they had in mind. On Tuesday, January 19, 2010, the day before the one year anniversary of President Obama's inauguration, the voters began the process of correcting that error. Happy Anniversary, Mr. President. Here's our gift to you. His name is Scott and he drives a truck.

By the time many of you read this correspondence, the Democrats will have hit the airwaves with their own unique spin on what the Massachusetts election means. I'll summarize it for them in 5 words: Socialism Got Its Ass Kicked. Spin it however it makes you feel better. But when you get down to it, repeat after me..............socialism got its ass kicked.

You messed with the wrong people. The sleeping giant sleeps no more. America is the greatest nation the world has ever seen because it embraces rugged individualism and the opportunity to reap reward from one's own labor. When a person is rewarded for challenging him or herself to greater heights and achievement, there is a fulfillment that can never be simulated. That fulfillment makes him a better person................a person willing and humbled to be generous and kind and charitable.

President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Your day of reckoning has arrived. You all seek to punish the achievers and engineer "social fairness" by implementing policies that vaporize the human spirit and the desire to achieve. Let Tuesday, January 19, 2010 be your awakening. We reject your vision. The people you called extremists and astroturf and teabaggers and "not representative of America" are not going away until your ideology is vanquished and no longer a threat to our America. You will become a footnote in our history books because we are not finished and we will not become complacent. Our children, and our grand-children and our great-grandchildren deserve no less of us. It is our solemn vow. You had better learn to deal with it.

And, by the way, when Mr. Brown arrives in his pickup truck next week, I suggest you not refer to it as a "clunker."

The Saints are marching in,

Dr. Glenn C. Dubroc, Jr.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Saints Are Coming!!

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We were there on the Plaza that September day, after having gone to Lakeview beforehand to photograph the site where an out-of-state friend grew up -- her parents' ruined house had been demolished earlier in the week and she needed a little photographic closure from long distance to make it real. There was nothing there but a few weeds, a concrete driveway leading nowhere, and the house number spray-painted on the buckled sidewalk. Pretty sobering; and that little side-trip made for a rather somber beginning to a pretty glorious day.

And, then it happened. Green Day, Trombone Shorty, the Saints charging onto the field, emerging from the fog to the adulation of thousands in the Dome. And outplaying the Dirty Birds all over the field.

I felt that old exhilaration last Sunday when the Saints team from the beginning of this season (rather than those beaten-up guys from the end of the regular season) burst onto the field, led by Deuce McAlister and wielding baseball bats inscribed, "Bring the Wood!!" And they carried the magic back onto the field with them while showing the Cardinals the door!

I hope to be on the Plaza again this Sunday -- no tickets, but we can still party like it's 2006! And we can wrap ourselves in the magic that emanates from our team's very-first-ever home-field NFC Championship game, and revel in the joy that the Saints have shared with us this season.

I feel it -- and I still have the Faith! Our Home! Our Team! FINISH STRONG!!

(And, tears will still stream down my face when "The Saints Are Coming" plays over the loudspeakers, but that's okay! Several hundred-thousand of my closest friends will be doing the same thing!)

(Sorry about the embed thing. "Techno-savvy" is not my middle name!)

UPDATE: Thanks to nanc for the embedding tutorial!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

First Person Report From Haiti

From my friend, Larry, a retired Coastie whose last duty assignment was at the Embassy in Port-au-Prince. He still retains close contact with a Catholic church there:

I don't know were to start to tell you how bad the situation is in Port-au-Prince. Help has been slow in reaching the victims, causing more victims... Most of the city and surroundings are destroyed. No electricity there, and practically no phone services anywhere in the country. I am at a loss trying to communicate in my own area which had no damage. Now, there is a gas shortage all over, making things still worst... and so even here, the electricity is being rationed, which means that I'm having a hard time keeping up with the internet services which are not too good. All our scolastics left Turgeau today, and arrived in Gabions, on way to their new assignements in different parishes. The Procure is like the house where the "lady lived in a shoe... " Price is here with Toto for now, and my 3 visitors from California, us four, and five others !!! Another contingency is expected to land here tomorrow... We have practically no liquidity left, with all the banks closed, and not soon to open. I am sure from what I heard that the death toll will exceed the 300,000 mark!!! There is not a person I talk to that does not have a death in the family... We still don't know how many priests,seminarians, and religious are dead... or still dying because not enough help is on hand to save them. Leogane is 90% gone, great destruction from Petit Goave all the way to Cabaret !!! Boy, were we lucky in the South!!! We have no news at all of the Jacmel area , and so I presume it's like the South... Where the quake hit hard everybody is living and sleeping in their "yards"... or in the streets. Whatever is left standing is not safe. The Turgeau Scolasticate is completely destroyed, as well as the Annexe of the Provincial House. The old section of Prov. House is cracked and unsafe. The confreres there are living in the back yard near the steps... The stench of dead corpses is all over town, so bad that they are burning the corpses... Blanchard area suffered no damage, and all the scos. there are OK, but must leave because theres nothing left to stay for!!! There is not one school, church, or any type of public building left in the whole area, nor decent private home, just a few here and there... with no where to go. The roads are open, but there 's a huge crack in Tapion, near Petit Goave where fuel trucks , and big transport can't get through. Since everything was centralised in the Capitol, now the whole country is affected. Since the govenment has also collapsed, law and order is starting to break down. We will need those 10,000 US Forces... It will take a miracle to get all the countries involved in the rescue mission and rebuilding to really put their act together... and in time !!! It is now after midnight, Joe, and I must say a little prayer before I go to bed. I'll try to get back to you soon. We all appreciate your concern and especially your prayers for more strength in this terrible ordeal, much like the Book of Job... Bye, Fred,omi

I simply cannot imagine how very bad it is now, considering how very bad it was before the quake. And there is little or no way to get help in to them. God speed.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Who Dat Nation Has a New Reason to Celebrate!!

The Deuce is Loose!!!! Deuce McAllister will re-join the Saints as a team Captain and to lead the team onto the field in the Dome tomorrow! What a stroke of fan-rousing genius!! We've all missed the Deuce.

Happy birthday, dear Drew Brees!!! Drew Dat!

Tomorrow is a BIG day -- GEAUX SAINTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Saints tee shirts are clean, folded, and ready for action tomorrow. Now, I've gotta go plan my Cajun-style fricasseed cardinal wings!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Celebrate Good Times!

Happy FIRST Blogiversary to me!

Thank you, Shady Lady, for creating Moogie's World for me! It's been much more effective (and way cheaper!) than psychological therapy, but it has rendered me pretty much useless for outside activities on many an occasion.

I've made some wonderful Blog Buddies whom I feel I know in person, and I've blown my top at others whose posts are blithering nonsense. I've been able to communicate with the circus in Washington, and kept up with current events much more thoroughly than ever before.

Thanks to all who visit me in Moogie's World -- cyberspace is a great place for a vacation spot!

Coincidentally, today is also #3 grandchild's second birthday! Happy Birthday, lovely little lady Lizzy Lou! May you always be one step ahead of your big brothers, and one half-step behind your folks -- as your Daddy points out, the parents have been out-numbered since you were born!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bleeping Buses!

Sophie Wright Middle School, whose marching band you may have read about here, is 1/2 block, Lakebound, from our house.

Since the Christmas break, it has apparently been given a new assignment by the Orleans Parish School Board: serving as the site for aspiring bus drivers to practice backing up. Beeping buses. LOTS of beeping buses.

Pepper went down there a few evenings ago to ask what they were doing backing up into the schoolyard (after several of them had run up into the yard across the street from the entry into the fence to get the "right angle") at 8:00 at night. More specifically, he asked why at least one bus was sitting perfectly still, in reverse, so that the beeping continued. He was told that they had to practice. He informed him that he was going home to practice calling the police, then the school board.

The beeping stopped shortly after he got back to the house.

But, not for long.

This morning at 0447 hours, I was awakened by bus beeping. It went on for 15 minutes. I didn't sleep much after that.

The buses are now arriving for the first regular afternoon pick-up; another shift will begin afterschool-activity pick-up at about 5:30. AAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!

Someone rescue me from all the bleeping beeping bus-backing-upping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I'll go practice calling the police.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside (and inside!) in "Who Dat" Land!

So. It has been an interesting weekend at Moogie's World.

Remember Moogie's Mansion? The old girl is a fairly common example of the way things were built in New Orleans in 1906. There are still two enormous brick cisterns -- now sealed off -- in the attic that used to be the water source for the upstairs tubs and toilets. Pretty uptown, don't you think! (Not to mention being pretty indicative of how very well and strong buildings were constructed way back then!) City water was added at some point in the early 20th century, back when times were fairly warm, one must assume.

Despite AlGore's assertions to the contrary, one must assume that times were fairly warm back then because you'll note the pipes running from the City water supply up to the second floor, are on the outside of the building.

You'll also note the towel wrapped around one of those pipes.

There's a towel wrapped around that pipe because it burst yesterday afternoon, giving us a cascading waterfall the likes of which you've never seen! For some reason, Pepper thought a towel might help somehow. I'm still not quite sure how it was to be helpful, but the towel's still there, awaiting one of our buddies from Al Bourgeois Plumbing. Since we have a 104 year-old house, we also have Al Bourgeois on speed-dial. Our post-Katrina bills alone probably sent one of the Bourgeois grandchildren through some pretty ritzy private schools.

Fortunately, it was the hot water pipe that burst, so we were able to shut off the water just to the upstairs water heater instead of all the water to the upstairs. Like last time. *Sigh*

We made out much better, though, than our neighbors did in the apartment house next-door, built in 1898. They got to keep their water (at last report!), but they lost all power when the overloaded main breaker box arced out (again!). There was quite a fireworks display, complete with a visit from the Fire Department. The Fire Captain told the neighbors that this was the power utility's problem, not the Fire Department's.

I think this horrid cold snap has the Fire Department a little testy. Can't say that I blame them.

We invited the apartment tenants to come over to spend the night, or just to get warm, but they apparently all made other arrangements -- the parking area was pretty empty by about 8:00 last night. I'm really kinda glad they had others to take them in -- doing a huge bunch of linen laundering isn't on the schedule for this week, but I would've gladly done it if my neighbors were in need.

I guess the good will and cheer of the Christmas season hasn't totally faded yet. Even if it was offered begrudgingly.

Nevertheless -- Come on, sunshine!!! The foliage is failing and there's actual ice in the backyard! In New Orleans! My poor little rose bush is so very confused. And I have no idea why the frozen hibiscus photo insists on being on its side. It must be cold.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Let the Celebrating Begin!

The family's getting ready to grow! Our wonderful "Easter Group" friends threw a festive, football-backgrounded Engagement Celebration for Shay and Tim on January 2 in Little Rock.

Helen and her sister, without itty-bitty offspring stopped by for a bit (but missed the pictures), and Steve and Will were shivering at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, rooting on the Hog victory over East Carolina. But scores of folks came over to wish the soon-to-be-hitched couple well, some of whom we haven't seen in ages.

Football, fun, and food -- plus a Razorback Bowl game win!

Now, that's the way to kick-off a good year!
(Hint, hint, Saints!)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Of Cats and Car Alarms

Hello! I've been away from my computer for a few weeks, doing Christmas and wedding and medical (with my Daddy) stuff with friends and family in Arkansas. We lived through lots of typical holiday times: cramped quarters (4 people, 4 dogs, 1 bathroom!), lots of laughter, several levels of bitching, overeating unhealthy food, not enough sleep, disappointment, joy, wrapping paper to the ceiling, ping pong tables, and driving home on Monday through seriously cold temperatures and snow flurries. Bouie didn't get to fetch any ducks because there was way too much water to tempt many of them in (a new record for rainfall in Arkansas -- now think about 4 dogs in cramped quarters and muddy paws!), but he is now officially a "goose" dog, having fetched a number of them -- not all of which were quite dead enough not to fight back! More about wedding stuff to come.

So, now I'm back home and facing the un-decorating of Christmas and the decorating of Mardi Gras Carnival season. And, boy, am I home. Monday night reintroduced me to my New Orleans -- there was little sleep for the weary, namely me. Pepper can sleep through small rocket fire.

We apparently have a new neighborhood cat of rather promiscuous nature and loud vocals; I spotted a gray-and-black-ringed tail disappearing beneath the house this afternoon when I was taking out the trash. She'll probably seek out new digs once the dogs get re-established in the yard. I hope. Kittens under the house are not on my list of "must haves."

And when the pussycat wasn't laying down tracks for porno-movie voiceovers, someone in heavy equipment that is obviously regulated by OSHA was backing up at all hours of the night somewhere down the street. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

And someone a block or two over must have gotten a new car alarm for Christmas. And doesn't know how to shut it off yet, or adjust its sensitivity. Joy.

Just imagine my cacophonous "Welcome Home" Symphony.

But my bed felt good anyway -- I had changed sheets the morning I left, so there were crisp, cleans linens to curl up beneath. And there was ham-and-bean soup in the freezer to fill our tummies. And the Saints will play their opening play-off game on Saturday the 16th instead of Sunday the 17th, so I won't have to miss a minute of it for CAMAN Ball practice.

So, I'm home and back in real-time. The local TEA Party group is gearing up to fight health care reform in its current form, King Cake is on sale at the supermarket, and the Sophie Wright Middle School marching band has begun outdoor practice for Mardi Gras parading.

Life is good.