Saturday, July 31, 2010

Starring John Kerry as Homer Simpson

I got an email this morning soliciting donations to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The email informs me that several of the author's colleagues are in real trouble, having been targeted by national Republicans. It starts out like this:

Dear Moogie,

I know you get more requests for donations than you can
give to. I really do. In these times, especially, I feel bad for asking.
It goes on to name three of those colleagues in a "firefight," including the author's good pal Barbara Boxer, and explains why I should feel guilty for not forking over my checking account number and PIN.

Then it's sincerely signed, "Sen. John Kerry."

Heh. He don't know me too good, do he?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Calling Mr. Diogenes!

This cartoon depicts how the story unfolded for the woman with a "unique set of life experiences."

But, American Thinker sees "the rest of the story."

I thought something smelled funny. Still does. We should have listened when the Secretary was trying to tell us about Ms. Sherrod's "claims" against USDA.

Is there anyone who works for government that is not in it just for himself? Where is Diogenes when we really need him?!?!

A Note from the Privileged Class

As bad as Bush got to be, I thank the good Lord daily that there never was a President Kerry. Or, heaven forbid, a first lady Heinz!

It is a quaint little sloop. Only 75 feet and built in New Zealand. Not even American-made.

E. Gad.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Know! Let's Just Run the Oil Industry Out of the Country!

Here we go again. The House is scheduled to vote on a "safety" bill tomorrow -- HR3534, the CLEAR Act -- that could very well run the oil industry out of U.S. waters and straight into the open arms of Hugo C. and those Krazy Kastro Boyz, or a bunch of west Africans. So, I thought I'd ram my head up against a tree once more and attempt to communicate with Congress.

Congressman Cao:

I've expressed my doubt before that you don't read these emails or even care what your constituents want, but I'm going to try again: You must vote against HR3534, the CLEAR Act.

While it might contain some safety reform for Gulf drilling, you must admit that enacting the bulk of this Bill would be akin to opening an artery and allowing the economic lifeblood of the Gulf south to drain down a Congressional rathole.

Don't be hoodwinked by the Speaker again. It's time to help the Gulf south, not to kill it.

Do not vote in favor of this Bill, or any Bill that would leave the oil industry on life support. All legislation need not be "comprehensive." Remember the old adage, "Good things come in small packages." Devastation tends to think big.

Most very sincerely, MoogieP

Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2009.

Aquatic Resources. I'm getting a headache.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

He's Not Crazy, He's Religious

On June 1, 2009, convert-to-Islam Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad opened fire on two soldiers in Little Rock, Arkansas, killing one, PVT William Long. He is currently undergoing a court-ordered mental examination preliminary to his trial on charges of capital felony murder, among other things -- an unusual number of which oddly involve urine.

The examining psychiatrist recently filed his report with the court, concluding that Muhammad (the former Baptist, Carlos Leon Bledsoe) is most likely competent to stand trial. The despicable defendant revealed quite a bit about jihad in America in his conversations with the doctor, and in the process he also revealed a bit about how radical Islam isn't exactly a religion of peace and love. Today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports:

“I was trying to kill them,” Muhammad told Dr. R. Clint Gray with the
Arkansas State Hospital, saying the shooting that injured Army Pvt. Quinton
Ezeagwula of Jacksonville and fatally wounded Pvt. William Long, 23, of Conway,
was “not due to mental illness, but due to obligation. It is a religious belief.”

. . .

“I’m not insane. I can stand trial. I’m not crazy,” he said, telling Gray that he has told his attorneys that he wants to plead guilty. “I can prove my beliefs in the Koran. It’s my religion. My family’s Baptist. They don’t understand. I’m saying I’m not brainwashed.”

Well, there you go. His family didn't understand him and the Koran instructed him to stalk and slaughter American soldiers on their native soil.

We'd better not interpret his words too mildly for the purposes of political correctness.

I'd like to see him strung up by the heels or other parts, but I hope he doesn't get the death penalty -- that would play right into the radical jihad mentality. I can think of many other creative forms of punishment, Eighth Amendment be damned.

Ah, yes, the wicked side of Moogie's brain is working overtime right about now (she said with an eerie glow emanating from her green eyes while one corner of her mouth curled upward in contemplation of something delicious).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

DISCLOSEing My Disgust

The House already passed its version of the Union Campaign Contribution Suck-up bill. The House appears to be a lost cause when it comes to common sense, so I just emailed the following to my senators on the cusp of the Senate vote on S3295 -- the DISCLOSE Act:

Dear Senators Vitter and Landrieu:

I know you never read these things or even care about what your
constituents think, but please be aware -- we remember, we contribute to
campaigns, and we vote.

Therefore, please vote against S3295, the "DISCLOSE Act." We are so very tired of stealth legislation, especially legislation that, when studied in the light of day, crushes individual liberties, such as political speech.

We're also so very tired of unequal treatment -- especially when unions are the beneficiaries.

We're frankly just fed up with Congress as a whole. So, if you'd like to affect the
anti-incumbent tide, show us something positive -- something like standing up for your constituents' right to engage in political speech. Vote AGAINST the DISCLOSE Act.

Most Very Sincerely, MoogieP

The DISCLOSE Act -- "Democracy Is Strengthened By Casting Light On Spending in Elections." Holy. Moly. Is anyone else as tired of tortured acronyms as I am?!?!

Or as fed up with Congress? I CALL FOR FRUIT BASKET TURNOVER TODAY!!!!!!! Why wait 'til November.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hugo Chavez: Economist and Unfortunate Fashionista

Not only do we have to worry about Dear Ol' Leader Kim Jung Il's threats, now the A.P. reports that Venezuelan "president" Hugo Chavez is rattling his very own saber. He told an adoring throng yesterday, "If there is any armed aggression against Venezuela from Colombian territory or anywhere supported by the Yankee empire, we . . . would suspend shipments of oil to the United States! . . . . We wouldn't send another drop of oil to its refineries, not a single drop more!"

Of course, that brutal embargo would send Venezuela's "thriving" economy further into the tank and could have the unexpected consequence of jump-starting our own American oil industry -- you know, that oil industry that's now languishing around in the in the Obama Gulf Doldrums.

Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing after all -- winter's just around the corner, and it should be heating oil season by the time election day rolls around. A nice shiver might shake some sense into some of those enviro-nut moratorium fans who can't see the energy forest for the oil spill tree.

Insofar as our neighbors to the south go, I'm not sure who's the bigger nutcake -- Hugo, Daniel O. who also rattled a saber at Colombia today, or those Krazy Kastro Boyz (now that Honduras has finally thrown Zelaya out of office).

One thing I do know -- I hope neither Michelle nor the Young President hooks up with Hugo's fashion designer. The resulting Obamaesque Imperial trappings and accouterments could be frightening. But really sparkly -- we could see the Young Prez sporting his Nobel on a fancy sash like Hugo's! And maybe his "necklace" could be made from the bottle caps from his beer summits!

Based on her fashion-past, though, I fear to contemplate what Michelle might dare to wear.

What is it with the belts nowhere near her natural waist?

And the horizontal stripes where horizontal stripes don't belong?

Okay -- I'll give her the see-through top, but . . . .


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Urgent! The Norks Are Being Inventive!

So. The Norks are a little miffed that the U.S. is holding joint military exercises with South Korea. They're miffed about us getting all up in their faces, even after the Norks sank a South Korean Navy vessel, killing 46 sailors, and denied being involved with the whole thing. The joint exercise is a bit of a warning to the Norks, letting them know that we're still in this hunt and unwilling to let them just be a big bad bully. China seems to be staying in the wings so far.

So, does North Korea have nuclear capability?


But, so far their efforts to launch a missile strike of any caliber have fallen short, usually into the sea. However, as of this evening, we have a News Flash -- the Norks have tested a new delivery device for their nuclear strike!

Behold, and cower in fear!

Or not.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Geography 101

Our power was out for 3 1/2 hours today, so my brain is a little fried. Ain't got much, but this caught my eye.

I've always loved geography.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Racism as Defined by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

News Flash! To ease the recent confusion, the White House announces a new, comprehensive definition of "racism."

That probably covers it. See you at Gitmo. Or "The Camps."

(Shamelessly Stolen from Facebook.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

USDA: New Mission Accomplished

I'm home after an unexpectedly extended trip to Arkansas. One of the things that really sucks about attaining one's fifties is that the parents of one's friends start to die in earnest. It really sucks and makes me sad.

Then, there's this -- it sucks and makes me mad.

I think there's a grossly larger number and variety of weeds in the yard this year than ever before. I spend waaaaay too much time in the heat pulling weeds that weren't there last year or the year before. They just sprout overnight, then they taunt and mock me when I take the dogs out in the morning. I spent way too much time pulling weeds at Younger Daughter's house over the weekend, too, so it seems to be an epidemic problem.

I blame excessive weedage on the United States Department of Agriculture and its new mission to distract us from whatever it is that the Young President and his minions want us distracted from. They've sown a massive amount of weed seeds to keep us occupied. That has to be the reason for so many weeds, doesn't it?

The plot is rolling out, but strikes familiar notes. We've moved past the "wise Latina" with a "richness of . . . experiences" (who now adorns the Supreme Court bench and casts votes counter to what she intimated to Congress during confirmation hearings) and moved on to the woman with roots in poverty and a "unique set of experiences" (although she has one of the most boring, unmodulated voices I've ever heard, bless her heart).

We've moved from the "teachable moment" of Professor Gates and the Cops to the "teachable moment" description by Press Secretary Bobby Gibbs of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's Forced-Resignation-Gate.

As many have noted, there appears to be a lot of teaching going on out there and not a whole heckuva lot of learning. Except for this: I've learned that the government takes rather elaborate steps to distract the voters, and now we can't trust anything they do for fear we're being distracted from something big.

Paranoia: sometimes they really are out to get you. The weeds are proof.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

As Seen on Highway 10

There's a guy on a heavily-trafficked street in Little Rock who puts fairly conservative message signs in his front yard. Some of them are pretty funny, and he apparently gets certain peoples' goats on a regular basis. I'm thinking that some of those peeved folks take action against him from time to time.

Why would you think that, Moogie, you say?

The sign that's in the yard right now says, "DEMOCRATS, the guys who stole my signs and your money."


Thursday, July 15, 2010

NASA's Gettin' Into this Outreach Stuff

Could Dearborn, Michigan be the next stop on NASA's Tour de Islam? "Sharia! We just met a law called Sharia. And suddenly a name will never be the same to me . . . ."

Muslim Outreach -- the Final Frontier (no matter how testy Bobby Gibbs may get when denying what we all know to be likely the truth.)

H/T and thanks for the pic to Andy.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Of Pigs, Wearing Beagle Suits, at the Trough: A Cautionary Tale

Since we lost our Wendy Whiner beagle girl, I've noticed a change in the eating habits of Bouie, the sweet young lab, and Rosie, the geriatric mostly-blind-and-usually-deaf shih tzu.

Supper Time used to be a closely monitored activity. There were three bowls, in three different spots in the kitchen, and the bowls for Bouie and Rosie were not set in place until Wendy had her bowl. Rosie and Bouie had to wait because, otherwise, Wendy would nudge them out of the way and glom theirs down before they had a chance even to sniff their food; but, if she was preoccupied with her own bowl, the other two stood a chance of getting to eat.

Wendy never left a morsel in her bowl. Holding it down with one paw (quite the clever and talented hound dog), she always licked the bowl down several times, even after it was empty, digging in to scrape the last tiny morsel out of the creases in the bottom with that all-powerful beagle tongue. After she gave up on finding anything else in her own bowl, she would slyly (in her own mind!) set off to check out the others' bowls, hovering near them and staring down her canine brethren much like Snoopy did when he was pretending to be a vulture, willing them to step away from the bowl. If, by chance Rosie and Bouie didn't finish the whole serving, Wendy would take care of that for them, licking their bowls doubly clean as she had her own. On more than one occasion we feared she might explode. So, we took to picking up Rosie's and Bouie's bowls when they left something in them, both to preserve what was theirs and to prevent a bursting beagle. It was time-consuming, but worth the effort in the end, even if sometimes Rosie and Bouie didn't get quite full enough.

Since Wendy has been gone, the other dogs have felt free to nosh at will, not feeling obligated to clean their bowls all at one time; knowing that what they left would still be there waiting for them later when they felt like a little snack, but still willing to let the other have a nibble or two if he or she felt the need.

I think there's an allegory in there somewhere: the Tale of the Federal Government and the Taxpayers at Supper Time, starring Wendy as the Feds (and featuring Bouie and Rosie as The Taxpayers).

We should all take heed of the tale -- sometimes The Feeder has to monitor the action and pick up the supper bowls early; sometimes the beagle explodes and everyone has to clean up the mess.

The Feeders still have a choice -- for awhile.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Summer of Congress's Discontent?

Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) apparently chose to disregard Fox News on the wrong day.

At a town hall several days ago, a constituent asked Sherman's take on the Department of Justice's recent policy decision not to prosecute civil rights abuses when the alleged wrongdoer is black. The constituent referred specifically to the DOJ's dropping of charges against several members of the New Black Panther Party in exchange for a questionable plea deal in the Philadelphia voter intimidation case.

The Congressman assumed a patronizing air, back-pedalled a bit, then outright lied about being unfamiliar with the case. (Okay -- that he outright lied is my spin, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck . . . .)

Don't you love the crowd's response at the end? Can you say, "Get a rope!" (I offer that observation in the least racist vein possible. White bad guys were strung up in the old B-movie Westerns, along with people who claim in modern television commercials that good salsa is made in Noo Yawk City. Come to think of it, I haven't seen that commercial in ages!)

Just think! This little Town Hall call-to-account was just the run-up to the summer recess. I smell an August chock-full of congressional confrontations.

Still think the TEA Party is passe, Madame Pelosi?

H/T to Powerline.

UPDATE: This is interesting. I've tried to embed the Glenn Beck broadcast of King Samir Shabazz's rant about killing "crackers" several time and everytime a "this link is broken" message comes up. Go to Youtube and search for "shabazz cracker rant." You'll find it if you haven't seen it yet. I hope.

When the President Misses Dress Rehearsal

Hearken back to early February, when the Young President was speaking to a Prayer Breakfast (I know -- that's a joke in itself, isn't it!), attempting to praise his military. Remember how he expressed an intimate familiarity with his military and its specialists?

Having spent the morning at Belle Chasse Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base with a military group (and my husband being retired from the Army, and all, so I can't get him in trouble -- much), I just hear this poster speaking to me:

The poster speaks to me and pronounces my name correctly.

I know -- I'm being petty, and a little catty.

So, sue me! I got nothin' else.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Salazar Says: Let Them Eat Cake

The Obama administration is preparing to announce a new moratorium on offshore drilling today.

Here are my thoughts on Secretary Salazar and his boss (Warning -- creative use of some not exactly family-friendly words!):

Tylenol, hell. Bring on the good stuff.

Reflections on "Blue Laws," Past and Yet to Be

I was listening to Walton & Johnson (a rather irreverent radio drive-time show) the other morning and a caller brought up "Blue Laws." For the uninitiated (or the very young!), Blue Laws are state statutes that prohibit certain commercial activities on Sunday; sometimes they're known less-colorfully as "Sunday Closing Laws." Today, in many places, the old Puritan-inspired laws are still around, and ban, or limit, the sale or service of alcohol on Sundays and/or on Christmas Day. The caller to W & J expressed relief that at least we've made enough progress as a society to be rid of the bulk of Blue Laws.

I grew up and lived most of my adult life in Arkansas in the heart of the Bible Belt, so I'm more than familiar with Blue Laws. Listening to the lady caller set me to reminiscing about "the olden days," and it occurred to me that as we experienced the demise of Blue Laws, we also witnessed a steep decline in what used to be referred to as "morals."

Even so, I still think I have to agree with the lady caller. We're well rid of 'em -- Blue Laws, that is; not morals!

Even though I was very young, I can vividly remember when all stores were shuttered on Sunday. Viewed in a strictly religious context -- which we, as a nation, used to set as the benchmark -- the Laws were designed to protect a "day of rest" to observe the Sabbath, and commercial activity was, by definition, a violation of that commandment.

Then, as the population grew and became more urbanized, people found they needed gas or other stuff on Sundays, so "exceptions based on necessity" started appearing. And that's where Blue Law enforcement entered the realm of the bizarre.

Groceries and gas stations began to open on Sundays, then drug stores, and even some variety stores. But the litany of what you could and could not buy was crazy and indecipherable. Plus, the poor employees of the stores had to rope off -- literally -- aisles and aisles of non-saleables.

For instance, you could purchase food preservation items like aluminum foil, but not food preparation items, like aluminum foil pie plates. You could buy "necessities" like bread and milk, but not raw foods that required preparation. You could buy Coca Cola, but not teabags or coffee. Canned baby formula was okay (and usually sold out as soon as the doors opened), but not powdered. You could not buy tools of any kind, but you could buy clotheslines.

Clotheslines, yes; clothes, no.

"No clothing sales" meant you could buy a dog collar, but not a belt. And "no clothing sales" is what caused me most of all to despise Blue Laws and lobby for their repeal: you could not buy diapers because they were considered to be clothing!

"No baby formula sales" could be dealt with, but have you ever had an infant or toddler with the runs and you have gone through the disposable diapers and have no cloth diapers on hand? I have. It's not pretty.

I swear, leftover anxiety about how to beg, borrow, or steal diapers for Elder Daughter is the root cause for my elevated blood pressure today. (Well, not literally steal! I was, after all, an officer of the court.)

As with most experience-taught things in this life, I eventually learned to stock up on diapers and formula on Saturday, just in case. I suppose the prevalence of that prophylactic measure by every mom in the state was one of the arguments that led to the Blue Laws' repeal -- we were just time-shifting the "work" of wearing clothing.

Having grown accustomed to the New Orleans attitude about alcohol, I still have to remind myself to stock up on wine and beer when we go back to Arkansas for a weekend visit, though. Maybe someday the prevalence of that prophylactic measure will eventually lead Arkansas's liquor laws into the 21st century. The Legislature is slowly letting go of its attempts to legislate morality -- the recently established lottery has been successful beyond everyone's wildest expectations. But I don't think I'll hold my breath. Some parts of government are beginning to treat us as adults while the Feds seem to be trying to keep us in diapers, Sunday sales or not.

I'm really glad the Sunday Sales law was repealed before Younger Daughter came along.

You younger folks out there had better keep an eye on Washington, or you'll be right back in the spot where government tells you what you may and may not do or consume in every walk of life. Every day.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Timeline to Where, Exactly?

Let's see. The BP Deepwater explosion took place on April 20, snuffing out 11 lives and be-fouling the Gulf of Mexico.

On May 27th, President Obama announced, "The American people should know that from the moment this disaster began, the federal government has been in charge of the response effort. . . Make no mistake, BP is operating at our direction." He also suspended exploratory drilling off the coast of Virginia and placed a 6-month moratorium on all offshore drilling in the Gulf.

Make no mistake, thousands of Gulf South residents were immediately thrown out of work.

On June 1st, two weeks after establishing it, Obama gave his "independent commission" and its co-chairs -- neither of whom are representatives of the oil industry -- orders to investigate the causes and effects of the spill, come back, and make recommendations six months hence. He was apparently not in any kind of hurry, however, because on that very day he still had yet to round out the commission, lacking five more appointments. June 1 was the first time he had met with any commissioners.

Six month moratorium, six-month deadline to report back.

The fishing industry was taking a serious lick by this time with many oyster beds shut down. Tourism was sure to follow.

On June 16th, Obama addressed the nation in his first-ever televised speech from the Oval Office. He told his captive audience, "Make no mistake, . . . We will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long as it takes."

"As long as it takes" to accomplish exactly what the Young President didn't make quite as clear. Making no mistake, I'm almost afraid to speculate.

June 22nd saw a federal district court dissolve the administration's 6-month moratorium of all offshore drilling, finding the moratorium to be overly broad, arbitrary, and capricious.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused the government's request to stay the District Court's order on July 9th. Spirits were raised a bit, but evidence that drilling would soon resume failed to materialize, primarily as a result of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's promise to overhaul the moratorium and re-institute it tout de suite, coupled with a late August hearing date for full arguments before the Fifth Circuit, expedited though it is.

Today, the migration of oil rigs from the Gulf flows like oil from the Deepwater Horizon breach, towing ever more jobs along in its wake.

Tomorrow, July 12th, in New Orleans, the nominally "independent" presidential commission will hold its first public hearing. The first public hearing will take place nearly two months after the commission was constituted. I can hear feet dragging from my front porch as Gulf families struggle to figure out their futures.

Inexcusable. Disgusting.

When it finally gets down to work, the commission would be wise to take a look at the bigger picture -- this is not just an environmental issue, although the environmental issue is indeed an overarching concern. And the commission would be wise and compassionate if it heeds the advice offered in today's Times-Picayune op-ed piece:

Louisianians are not advocating letting deepwater drilling continue as if nothing has happened and under the flawed enforcement of the past. Quite the opposite, no one in this region wants a repeat of the BP oil spill and its devastating environmental and economic impact.

But we also understand that the administration's blanket moratorium can cause as much or more economic damage as the spill. Up to 8,000 jobs could be lost on the rigs themselves, and another 24,000 jobs could be shed by companies that supply the rigs. Independent scientists and experts consulted by the Interior Department have argued that a more tailored moratorium, coupled with other safety measures, could be more effective. That's a sensible position.

. . . .

Louisianians understand that a catastrophe like the BP oil spill warrants a serious review, so accidents can be prevented in the future. But the president's commission
needs to keep an open mind and make a balanced assessment of our need for oil
and of ways to mitigate the risks.

No one wants another Deepwater Horizon. But an entire industry that's vital for our state and the nation should not be easily written off because of the mistakes of some. Louisiana, the Gulf Coast and the nation deserve an honest and objective assessment that takes into account concerns from all sides.

I couldn't have said it better myself -- but I would add one more admonition to the commission: act quickly, as if your hair was afire. Because life and culture on the Gulf is going down in flames.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The U.N. -- Spending Your Money on Flights of Fancy. Again.

Well, that respite from the political spectrum didn't last long.

Yesterday was apparently the U.N.'s celebration of "International Small Arms Destruction Day"
and the good ol' U.S. of A. seems to have had it catered.

Small arms destruction is not an event we celebrate here at Moogie's Mansion. That'd be kinda like celebrating "International Tear the Pages Out of Books Day" or "International Shut Down the Internet Day."

Secretary Hillary and the State Department characterized U.S. participation in the event as part of the United States’ ongoing efforts to support the “rule of law around the world” and bragged about spending more than $130 million to destroy “1.4 million small arms and light weapons.” This is apparently another well-thought-out and clever U.N. plan -- this time to reduce the impact of “illicit flows of small arms and light weapons" across the globe.

Right. What's the old saying about urination and the ocean?

But, seriously -- we have $130 MILLION spare bucks just lying around gathering dust that we can chunk down a rat hole in an effort to destroy the guns of idiots who would surrender them?!?! And guess what else? Since 1993 we've spent more than $1.5 BILLION in similar undertakings!

Check that -- I think we've gone down the rabbit hole instead of a rat hole. Or maybe both.

H/T to Rustmeister.

Fruitful Remedy for Imploding Brain Syndrome

To kick off a lazy weekend, we'll start by contemplating food.

Gotta get away from the political spectrum for awhile -- if only for an hour or two -- before my brain implodes.

This is my lightened and sugar-free version of Mrs. Andy's "Blueberry Strawberry Cheesecake Pie," as served up at Moogie's Mansion yesterday evening.

The recipe is available at the link -- just substitute Splenda, sugar-free strawberry preserves, sugar free-low-fat Cool Whip, and 1 fat-free/1 reduced fat cream cheese. I know -- it sounds like all that substituting for the good stuff would make it taste like cardboard, but it really doesn't! There won't be much left of it if I don't hide it from Pepper soon, and that tells you how good it is because he's not really a cheesecake kind of guy. He says the texture of this is not as mealy as cheesecake, and I agree.

I also agree with Andy -- 2 forks up!

There. I feel better already.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Sprung Spring -- UPDATE! -- "The Days of Our Water Meter"

Remember this post from June 11th? The post that explains how Moogie got to know a nice lady with an interesting name from the Sewerage & Water Board?

The Spring Has Sprung

Remember this photo of the "spring" next to Moogie's Mansion? Well, guess what. It's apparently moved to one of the water meters leading to Moogie's Mansion. Not quite as fountainy, but steady.

I've called the Sewerage and Water Board about it several times, but didn't expect much action, nor gave it much more thought except in the mornings when Pepper has to straddle it to get into his big ol' truck.

Until this month's bill arrived. Then -- whoa!!

Ordinarily the bill for that meter runs about $18 for water/sewer and $12 for sanitation. The bill for this month ran a little higher. The total (including the sanitation fee) was $432.00!!! For 600,000+ gallons of water used!!!

So Pepper suggested that, to protect him from suffering a stroke, I should probably call the Sewerage and Water Board back. Which I did. And I talked to a remarkably pleasant woman named Gowandy. Yes, I asked her to spell it. When she asked how she could help me, I replied that I was afraid the meter had been misread based on our usage history.
She looked up our account and said, "Wow."

Then she asked whether we had suffered a broken pipe or leak in the yard.

A broken pipe or leak that wasted 600,000 gallons of water.

I replied that there is no leak in the yard, but that there is one at the meter. And, I added, I doubt whether that wussy little leak would generate 600,000 gallons of water.

So, she explained the procedure to me -- apparently this phenomenon isn't uncommon in the least. Go figure! And here is where the New Orleans flavor kicks in: they will send out someone to inspect the leak and check the meter, but we have to send in a payment. Not the whole $432 -- we're just supposed to send in what we would ordinarily pay, like $18.00, and there will be no late charge (which I will believe when I see it!). But, we also need to send in a separate check for $12, payable to the City of New Orleans, for the sanitation fee. We can even send the separate check in the same envelope, but there must be a separate check.

Knowing how accounting works in Orleans Parish, I didn't even ask why there was a need for a separate check. I really didn't want to know.

So, the wheels have been placed in motion -- we shall see when the Sewerage and Water Board inspectors show up.

Any bets?

Well, today's mail brought this month's bill. And, even though I was supposed to receive a letter from the S&WB telling me the results of their inspection, and have yet to receive any letter (or to spy an inspector lurking around -- or even a meter reader, come to think of it), the usage and amount owed seem to have miraculously returned to normal.

(Sort of -- the bill shows a payment slightly greater than what Pepper sent in last month. Go figure -- the S&WB seems to have a slight data-entry issue.)

And -- here's the real shocker -- there is no late fee charged for last month!

Also interesting is the failure, so far, of the City to cash that mandatory separate $12 check for the sanitation fee. And this city complains about budget shortfalls!

I can only come to one conclusion: my little diversionary phone call worked and the cloaking device is working to conceal the new pool and native stone fountain that Buck ratted out!

Mwaa ha ha ha!!! Beam me up, NASA!

Oh, wait, NASA's out of the space biz . . .

NASA: New Mission Update

Some things just speak for themselves.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Twenty-seven? How Did She Get to be Twenty-Seven?


This pic was taken back in March, during the St. Patrick's Bachelorette Extravaganza. Younger Daughter had "given up" eating chocolate for Lent -- but she figured there was nothing in the rule book about smelling chocolate.

Judging from the expression on her face, I doubt she'll make the same sacrifice next year.

I hope she gets the chocolate of her dreams for her 27th, to nibble on while she hits the books way up north in Arkansas! And the chocolate of her daydreams in her wedding next June.

Transformation Accomplished

Well, I think he got that "transformative" thing accomplished. And NASA surely ain't continuing on "the same path."

Unfortunately, the "leap" was into the 11th Century. Without the knights in shining armor.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Canine-effected Short Life Expectancy of Plants at Moogie's Mansion

Look at this precious puppy, our Bouligny Voodoo, known more commonly as "Bouie." Valiant hunter. Loving lapdog. This sweet, loyal, fun-loving maelstrom on four gigantic paws!

Last fall, I posted about his character flaw as a plant-unplanter extraordinaire.

This year, he has eased up on the foliage shredding thing, but, through the clever connecting of withered dots, I have discovered a new weapon in his arsenal in the never-ending war against flora: he "waters" them to death.

So far, the body count includes 3 begonias, 3 red salvia, a peetunia (heh -- I crack myself up sometimes), and a boxwood basil, with a geranium and a caladium on life support.

There used to be lots of colorful planters on the steps leading to the front porch of Moogie's Mansion, but now the vacancies produced by attrition (usually accomplished via shattering and/or uprooting) haven't been replaced.

Boy dogs. What can you do but love 'em? And rinse the mint very carefully!

Monday, July 5, 2010

I Do Believe We've Entered The Twilight Zone


Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

This is really just a tardy April Fool's Day joke, right?

Why have you abandoned us, J.F.K.?

Reflections on the Fourth, or "Plan Ahead"

Pepper and I had a rather serious case of the indecisives about the Independence Day holiday this year. We couldn't come to a decision about what to do and/or whether to go somewhere to take advantage of the lagniappe time off from work.

And then, there was that other thing.

A couple of years ago -- three now, I believe, because middle grandchild John was still crawling -- The Son and his family came down for a visit and towed back to Arkansas a rather nice pleasure craft that Pepper had been persuaded to purchase for the family. Why, you might ask, was the Pleasure Craft towed back to Arkansas instead of berthing here in sunny New Orleans where Moogie and Pepper could enjoy it on the meandering rivers of southeast Louisiana and open waters of Lake Pontchartrain?

See the foregoing: "persuaded to purchase for the family," with the bulk of said family being located in Arkansas.

Although Moogie is a rather prominent member of "the family," she has been aboard that boat a grand total of -- um, let me calculate it here, um -- once. The day it was purchased. The day before it headed north. Pepper has been aboard a few more times, having been in Arkansas and available for nautical adventures during the intervening summers, but, Moogie? Nope.

So, we thought, maybe we should visit the family for the Fourth and let Moogie get her sea legs and join in the early celebration of Younger Daughter's July 7th birthday.

That's when it got a little complicated.

Younger Daughter, during most of her twenties, has thrown a birthday bash camping trip on Lake Ouachita near Hot Springs with family and friends. Outdoors. In tents. In Arkansas in July.

The last 3 years, the above-referenced Pleasure Craft has transported them to islands where they set up camp, and entertained them during the day with wakeboarding and tubing and other wind-in-your-hair, spray-in-your-face activities. A trip to Ouachita would give Moogie an ideal opportunity to spend time with family and get familiar with the Pleasure Craft! One might be tempted to conclude that this scenario was indeed an ideal opportunity.

Um, nope.

You see, Ouachita is a beautiful, pristine body of water whose quality exceeds that of most cities' treated drinking water, but it is, after all, outdoors. In Arkansas. In July.

I do enough perspiring where I live, and I did a tremendous amount of perspiring during our vacation to LJ's wedding in Ft. Lauderdale a few weeks ago and at the CLE conference in St. Pete back in May, and I can cope with that. But, there's a difference with distinction between those locales and a camping trip to Lake Ouachita in Arkansas in July: in all of those sweaty locations I was able to sleep in air-conditioned comfort, free from perspiration, nocturnal buzzing insects, and (literally) rock-hard sleeping surfaces.

As a younger woman, pre-childbirth, who could wear two-piece swimsuits with flair and aplomb, I actually enjoyed camping. I even backpacked Europe for three months! But as a more "mature" woman, accustomed to many creature comforts, do I put "camping in July" high on my wish list? Nope -- not so much. Pepper, having given nearly 35 years to the Army, a great deal of which was spent in the Infantry, didn't have much argument to my take on the whole camping thing. So, we thought about trying to find nearby accommodations where we could join the kids during the day and retire to A/C to sleep.

We thought about doing this on the Fourth of July weekend the week before. With dogs in tow, because who can get kennel reservations the week before July 4th?

Ha! Just try to find pet-friendly accommodations near a lake the week before the most lake-centric holiday of the year, even if your husband's high school chum runs a nearby resort. Bill offered to rent us the floor in his bedroom!

So . . . this recounting has been a rather convoluted explanation of how Pepper and Moogie came to be on a friend's balcony on July 4, 2010, watching fireworks over the Mississippi River in New Orleans with a freshly baked apple pie. You can't eat store-bought apple pie while watching fireworks on the Fourth of July.

And Moogie has still been aboard the Pleasure Craft a grand total of -- once.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Reputations and Inaction

The Start Page for my internet browser has a gadget that displays a different quote each day by somebody famous or inspiring or smart. They're usually pretty accurate, or at least instructional. But today . . . . ?

Here's the quote:

"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do."
--Henry Ford

WRONG, Mr. Ford!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My Friend, and the Gardenia, Knew

2001, in Moogie's Kitchen . . . .

A few weeks ago . . . .

The Mother-of-the-Bride's chair at LJ's Wedding, June 25th . . . .

I got a wonderful letter in the snail-mail yesterday! I hardly ever get real hard-copy letters anymore that have any value other than notifying me I may have won the Publishers' Clearinghouse Sweepstakes or have an expiring-soon opportunity to buy (fill in the blank: A. mattresses; B. landscape lighting; C. carpet) at a discount. But this letter was a keeper.

Even before its arrival, I knew it would be a keeper, though. My late friend, JB, told me so.

You may remember my bestest buddy, JB. I posted about her last fall, on the anniversary of her passing. She was quite the character, but also quite the nurturer, and -- ever the riddler and punster -- she keeps up with that nurturing thing in the oddest little ways, even today in this world she has left behind.

In 2001, at the same time I left Arkansas to live in New Orleans full-time, JB and her husband moved back to Arkansas from New Jersey to throw slumber parties for a living (they bought and ran a B & B in the Ozark Mountains). In July of that year, on the same day, with neither of us knowing about it in advance, we sent one another "house-warming" plants.

She won the "who's a better friend" contest -- I sent some random house-planty thing, but she sent me a gardenia in full-fragranced bloom, nestled in a crockery planter. It graced my kitchen island for nearly a year (and I nearly let it die of thirst countless times!) before I finally wised up and transplanted it to the front yard where there is rich, black Mississippi delta soil. And there it has thrived, surviving our Katrina-imposed exile and other unpleasant weather, and even Bouie's youth, during which he converted the gardenia bush into a gardenia topiary with his strong, sharp puppy teeth. Today, it stands well over five feet tall -- and I know I'm accurate about its height because I stand five-feet-flat in my stocking feet and must bend the top branches to drink in that heavenly gardenia fragrance from the highest blossoms.

This year, its spring bloom started on Easter Sunday, and it set so many flowers that its branches strained with the weight and drooped over the plastic netting Pepper installed to (try to) dissuade Bouie from any further defoliation.

Last month, a few days after I found the lump, on the day before I was to undergo the second mammogram and ultra-sound, I pulled up to the curb beside the front gate after running some errand or another and was suddenly knocked over by a calm; a peace that unknotted those muscles all tensed-up with worry in my neck.

That peace took over me because I spied it -- one single gardenia blossom nodding to me on the gentle breeze. It smelled like JB.

She was letting me know that everything would be all right.

And it was.

The next day, another bud appeared beside the blossom as Pepper and I were preparing to fly to Ft. Lauderdale for the Destination Wedding of JB's younger daughter, LJ; LJ is JB's half of "The Littles." (Our four girls are of two ages -- now 29 and 27 -- so they were "The Bigs" and "The Littles" as inseparable youngsters, and the term just stuck.) My Little, along with her fiance and older sister, was to join us in Florida and stand up for LJ as an attendant in a sunshine-yellow polished cotton bridesmaid dress with pockets in the seams.

That second bud opened the morning we left for the airport.

It was a message to my girls and LJ that her mom would be there for her wedding. And she was there -- in the smiles of her Big's sons that she never got to hold, in laughter and tears, in untold glasses of white wine, and certainly in the Jimmy Buffett songs spun by the DJ.

LJ wore her mom's cathedral-length veil in her wedding on the terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It flew wildly in the stiff breeze, and wrapped itself around LJ and her father as they moved down the aisle, but it stayed firmly gripped to LJ's beautiful bridal hairdo, rejecting the temptation to take wing on its own adventure.

And thus JB nurtures on.

The letter from my snail-mailbox opens with, "Your imaging examination shows a probable benign finding (not cancer)." Then it reminds me of my follow-up appointment in December and other stuff, but who cares about that right now. An actual doctor wrote the literal words, "not cancer" on actual paper! In ink!

JB knew it all along.

And the gardenia is still blooming today.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I Love to Pilfer!

Shamelessly stolen from Moonbattery.

The only change I'd make to Van Helsing's observations is to note that thousands of jobs have gone missing while the Emperor dabbles in immigration, not hundreds.

Muslim Culture Meets German Engineering

I now want that car. Very. Very. Much.

I'll rent it to any car bomber who would care to use it for an extremely reasonable rate.

h/t to Donna T.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Taxing That Bronze Glow for Healthcare

Not that I use tanning beds, and aside from the fact that I don't trust them and always discouraged my daughters from using them, nonetheless . . . .

Isn't adding a tax to a service used pretty much exclusively by one race pretty much the embodiment of racism?

Just sayin'.