Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Finding the Humor

Seen en route to a country cemetery on a gravel road in rural Arkansas.

You gotta wonder just exactly how crusty this guy is!


Another Weekend of Conflicting Emotions

I'm back from a successful wedding dress shopping trip, scheduled many months ago.  Younger daughter can now check "The Dress" off her list!  It was a happy, wondrous, magical, tiring, and very sad weekend.

I got to experience an unplanned gathering of my children's long-time friends, some of whom I haven't seen in years.  Some of them have children now, and I even got to hold one of them -- just a couple of months old -- in my arms! 

They fell right back into easy "black girl/white girl" friendships. (Remember, they went to public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas -- they are very comfortable being friends with people who may not look exactly like them. They even had a "Black Girls/White Girls Club" in high school and all of them had "names" from the other race. Younger Daughter's black-girl name was LaTacoBella; one of the black girls' white-girl name was Muffy Buffington.). A few guys even showed up.  The group was made up of both locals and several who have re-located at a distance.  They reminisced, they watched old home movies, they pored over high school yearbooks, they laughed, they cried, they "slumber-partied," they drank too much, and ate too little.

At twenty-seven years of age, they buried one of their own.  She looked like a sleeping angel.  They "called the Hogs" at the cemetery. 

And, they celebrated her too-short life as only they could -- together again, as she would wish.

Rest in peace, sweet Casey.  You're not in pain any longer, but you will be missed.  And never forgotten.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Remembering a Merciless Bitch

I'm doing a short road trip to begin Wedding Arrangements: The Next Generation in earnest, so I may not be around for a few days.

I think I've shown remarkable restraint in the Katrina arena this Summer, but the fifth anniversary is coming up on Sunday.  You know I had to do something, right?

So, here's something to think about.  Remember way back in 2005 when Katrina ate the Gulf of Mexico?

I do.

But, we're still coming back.

(P.S. -- shoo!  Scat, Danielle and Earl!!!)

Going Green Can be a Good Thing

What?  The tee shirt is green, isn't it?

Yeah -- I'm definitely looking forward to doing this!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Congressfolk Suck.

The Manhattan mosque is a political hot potato, and I've already shared my views about it.  I preface this video in this manner because it's not the mosque that is the issue here; it's Congressman Russ Carnahan's (D-MO) complete and utter disregard of his constituent that is the issue.  He not only didn't answer the constituent's question, he didn't even acknowledge his existence!  And that, my friends, is beyond inexcusable.

It's time to clean house.  I hope everyone in Missouri sees this video and carries it, burned into their psyches, into the voting booth come November.


Stolen from Chicks on the Right.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Rose by Another Name?

The Young President's firm mandate to get out of Iraq has come to pass, just as he predicted during the 2008 election campaign and early days of his administration.  A few days early, even!

Oh.  Except for those 50,000 or so soldiers who will stay there for awhile, doing pretty much the same jobs.  Or those who, as many WWII troops did after VE Day, will simply re-locate to the other theater of war.

We just won't call them soldiers.  Or warfighters.  Or Combat Brigade Teams.

Aren't semantics a wondrous tool!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Cemetery Saga and Stuff, Over-uneasily -- A Whole Lot of Shaking Going Down

UPDATE:  The Cemetery Shakedown Saga

It seems that three more families have spoken up about being shaken down by the charming woman at the city's Division of Cemeteries.

You'll recall that a Mrs.Gardner, city employee extraordinaire, tells bereaved family members to bring large chunks of cash with them to pay for gravediggers at the interment of a loved one.  Now it comes out that quite a bit of that large chunk of cash goes to her grandson, who sometimes shows up to open a grave and sometimes doesn't.

That's a pretty sorry state of affairs, but even sorrier is the odd fact that it would be perfectly acceptable, and within city procedures, if Mrs. Gardner had simply added her grandson's name to a list of "approved" gravedigging contractors compiled by the city and given the list to the bereaved.  You can read about the latest travesty here.  I have to admire those families who've just thumbed their noses at the whole shebang and dug graves for their loved ones themselves (supervised, of course, by a $100 gravedigging Supervisor).

Simply shameful.

Also.  There's this to ponder -- 

Margaret Hamburg (there's a bad joke in that name somewhere, but I won't go there today), Chief of the Food and Drug Administration, is speaking out in connection with the egg-induced bouts of salmonella making the rounds lately.  The FDA needs, according to Hamburg and others, more authority to put preventive controls in place and "hold companies accountable" for outbreaks of food-borne illnesses.  And, it's not just the FDA that's speaking out.  Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest agreed: "You can’t produce food at that level without a food safety cop on the beat."

Did she really say that out loud?  Food Safety Cops?!?!  Literal food safety cops?!?!

Now, I'm certainly not a big fan of salmonella.  Let me make this perfectly clear (heh), suffering from food poisoning of any sort is nowhere near the top of my wish list.  But enacting legislation that would enable another governmental agency to order a recall of a product (instead of having to wait for the business to issue a voluntary recall) just scares the holy fool out of me. 

The current system of having producers suck it up and admit that their product is faulty or unsafe resonates much more with me than having Uncle Sam do it for them.  Plus, lawsuits start flowing pretty soon to get a little help for injured parties.  To mess with the current procedure would cause a sea change in getting consumers reparations for their injuries.  The prospect of having to say a mea culpa  on a national platform plus the threat of endless, expensive litigation seems to me to be a pretty powerful incentive to get it right from  the get-go.  The threat of inspections, and "being held accountable," is not the best motivator, especially with federal government's track record of "inspections" (read: shake downs.)  Smells to me like more "penalties" going into the federal kitty and fewer damages being available for injured folk.

We need less government intrusion into our live these days -- not more. 

But I suppose "egg inspector" would be a "green job" of sorts for the White House to add to the tally.  


Just sayin'.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cranky, Thy Name is Moogie

Listen up, world!  Moogie is not a happy camper.

I am operating on very little sleep, mosquito-gnawed ankles, and premature adrenaline rush.

Pepper has gone to Alabama with a friend to chase little white balls with sticks, competitively, for the weekend.  Having had a rather unpleasant week coping with a flare-up of a chronic gut disease, I had planned to spend Friday night eating solid food, watching chick flicks, and sleeping long and late.

The Fates had other ideas.

Rosie, the 15 1/2 year old, mostly blind and usually deaf shih tzu, woke me at 0200, 0500, and 0740 wandering in circles on the bed, wanting to go out.  There are skads of skeeters out there at those hours, too.  Trust me on this one.  Plus, Pepper's alarm clock went off at 0600.  And 0700.  I hate that clock.

In sum, Moogie needs a nap.  And lunch.

I think that tonight, after the Saints - Texans game, I'll give Rosie a doggie Benadryl and unplug the alarm clock.  Or smash it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Fear the Boom and the Bust!"

I ran across this video yesterday after doing a Googley search on Friedrich Hayek.  (I neither remember nor comprehend why I was searching Hayek, so don't ask.)  It is absolutely priceless

John Maynard Keynes goes on a spending bender and Friedrich Hayek grabs the spotlight to explain why the stimulus can't work.  All in rap!  I dare you not to move while you watch this!

From Econstories.tv

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bouligny Voodoo is a Party Animal!

Happy fourth birthday to the Young Prince of Moogie's Mansion!  There will be some pretty good treats, but no birthday crown.  He refused to wear the birthday crown.  Rather emphatically.

Louisiana's Casket Cartel

As Alice observed after she plummeted down the rabbit hole, it just gets curiouser and curiouser.  Living in Louisiana, that is.

A huge new controversy has burst onto the scene here, just across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans.  Bigger than huge.  Enormous!  Earthshaking!  With wide-ranging implications!

The Benedictine monks have sued the state. 

It seems that Louisiana has a state Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors that regulates the funeral industry.  The Board is made up of embalmers and funeral directors and one "citizen" who must be over the age of 60.  (Yes, that's sixty.  I have no idea why someone eligible to join AARP is more qualified to sit on a state Board than someone who is simply eligible to vote, so don't even ask.  Closer to the subject matter, I suppose.  Sorry.)  This Board makes and enforces regulations governing how businesses deal with the recently deceased and their families, including a provision that requires a mere vendor of caskets to have a license.  A funeral director's license. 

So.  As reported in The Advocate, if you want to sell caskets you must take 30 semester hours of college, serve a one-year apprenticeship, and preside over a minimum of 23 funerals to get a license.  And that's just to get the funeral director's license.  To acquire a funeral home license, you must provide the services of a licensed embalmer.  (I don't even want to know the prerequisites to obtaining an embalmer's license, but I am grateful that there are people willing to go through it.)

After Katrina, the 121 year-old St. Joseph Abbey found itself in financial straits because their time-honored source of income -- farming and harvesting wood -- was severely damaged by the storm's wrath.  In order to subsist, for the past few years they have been building and selling modest wooden caskets lined with simple white cloth at affordable prices.  To do so, they converted part of the Abbey into a woodworking shop.

And they apparently trod all over the toes of the funeral director's lobby in the process.

The monks were ordered to cease and desist the unlicensed selling of caskets or face stiff fines and/or imprisonment.  They were denied exemptions from the heavy-handed law, and told that if they wished to continue their entrepreneurial endeavors, they must obtain not only a funeral director's license, but also a funeral home license because they store empty caskets in the workshop.  Seriously.

They don't plan to embalm anyone, so they took the logical step and sued the Board to have this ridiculous profit-protection scheme dissolved.

Now, I'll admit that Louisiana has some pretty out-there licensing requirements, such as in the florist industry and the interior design industry.  Like columnist Jarvis DeBerry, I'm not at all certain what horrors could be inflicted by incompetent floral or interior designers, but that's a battle for those industries to wage. 

This casket-selling thing, on the other hand -- what am, I missing?  Even if the monks mess up and sell a sub-standard casket, who's gonna be injured?  Who's gonna complain?  A dead guy?  He doesn't care if the casket gets a little prematurely leaky!

While I'm not usually a fan of litigation (kind of a weird characteristic for a lawyer!), I gotta say that I'm fully in the monks' corner.  I can't wait for this one to play out in the press.  Where's the popcorn?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Boy, His Dog, and A Creek

This, my friends, is a photograph of the very essence of summer!

Grandson #2 and Trevor, the lucky puppy who recently adopted him.  #2 was in the process of finding rocks to carry around; Trevor was just happy to be with #2.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Is a Puzzlement

Thought for the day: misguided do-gooders often waste time and resources.

But they can sure give one a good giggle.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Travelogue, Part 2

I must be losing it.

This just cracked me up.

On the way home I stopped in Hernando, Tennessee, just south of Memphis to fuel up and buy some unsweetened iced tea. The Happy Daze drive-in drew me in with not just one, but TWO, statues of polar bears throwing snowballs!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Southern Roots Run Deep

The photo is from the National Cemetery in Vicksburg, but it calls to mind my weekend sojourn into family.

I just got back from a quick turn-around trip (7 hours behind the wheel on both Friday and Saturday -- one forgets how very long Mississippi is!) to northern Mississippi for a family funeral. There are so few left from my father's split-age generation that I daren't miss any opportunity to see my cousins who live in far-off places.

Rush, the younger son of my grandmother's twin sister, passed away in March, and since his immediate family is scattered all across the globe -- literally -- they decided to wait until mid-summer to hold the commitment and memorial service in a quaint Episcopalian country church founded by Rush's grandfather in the 1800s. Each of his three daughters did a reading of scripture during the service, one son-in-law played hauntingly beautiful Irish pipes that echoed around the nave, and Rush's foster son from Togo served as pallbearer for the cherrywood box of ashes that Rush's wife had carried with her aboard the plane from their home in D.C., fearing all the time that TSA would give her enough trouble that she would be forced to cause a scene.

(Having lived with Rush in countless countries during his career in the Diplomatic Corps -- on at least three continents, in both hemispheres -- Joanna is gracious, but also very world-wise, and I wouldn't want to get crossways with her about something that touches her heart. Fortunately for them, the TSA chose this occasion to act with restraint and respect.)

At the cemetery, all of Rush's grandchildren bade him farewell with a single rosebud, barely opened, to symbolize his new journey taken without them.

After the ceremony, as is typical, everyone had to search out the headstones of departed loved ones and share memories of good times long ago. One of the daughters -- the one who lives in the Netherlands, I believe -- seemed a bit uncomfortable, and wondered aloud whether it would seem inappropriate for her to take a few photographs of the gravesite and headstones. I overheard her and assured her that, not only was it appropriate, it was practically expected, seeing as how she was in the south, and that's simply what we do.

And that opened a floodgate.

Several family members, in multi-national and geographically diverse accents, expressed astonishment about some of our southern traditions, such as "bootlegging" into "dry counties," like the one in which the gathering took place. (In which our family, being ever prepared, had engaged to take care of that small impediment!) The cousin who grew up in Arkansas but settled in Minneapolis chuckled every time he went outdoors from the air conditioning and got a first-hand reminder of the humidity when his sunglasses fogged up. Listening to them recount their observations, I just had to smile.

My favorite of those observations had to do with deeply-ingrained southern "manners;" the practice of treating mourners, even those we don't know, with respect and dignity.

For all their sophistication and exposure to many cultures, they were genuinely amazed that, as the funeral procession slowly made its way from the church to the cemetery, cars going the opposite direction not only slowed, but pulled over and stopped in respect until the last car passed. Another cousin, who grew up in Arkansas but made his home in Boston, just laughed and noted that, "back east," the other cars would pass the funeral procession and maybe honk a few times just for good measure.

It made me proud for them to acknowledge and appreciate this very important facet of just who "the southerner" is.

Perhaps that's why Rush and Joanna chose to return to his southern roots to join those of southern dust. Southern roots and a southern send-off make for a dignified first step into the next adventure.

And a pleasant memory for those left behind.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Obama and Katrina (You'll Notice that Obama is Listed First)

This just in.

Be still my racing heart. The Young President is coming to New Orleans on August 29th, the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding left in her wake caused by the failure of federal levees.

So much for it being about the people of southeast Louisiana and our commemoration, I suppose.

Moogie Weighs in on the Ground Zero Cultural Center Faux Pas

Because I can't get this picture out of my head, even nine years later, I've been wrestling with the whole thing about the Muslim Cultural Center planned near Ground Zero in Manhattan.

My constitutional sensibilities scream at me about rights protected by the First Amendment -- those fundamental rights touching upon religion and association -- while the American in me screams to fight the mind-numbing insensitivity of the whole idea.

Part of me is incredulous that a group of Muslims, out of respect for an America still in mourning, would even consider opening the Center anytime near 9/11, while another part recognizes that the planned opening date is probably some sort of Ramadan thing.

So, I've kind of come to a reconciliation with myself that the plan is, at best, an exercise in bad manners. Those of you who come to visit here from time to time know that my southern upbringing abhors bad manners, although I typically don't stoop to compound the bad manners by correcting them in public (even though I might, on occasion, whisper about them behind my hand while rolling my eyes).

Therefore, that being acknowledged, I'll just close with: Yeah. What Charles Krauthammer said.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Have Promises to Keep

The Young President sent me an email today concerning the upcoming mid-term elections.

(I also got one from Paul Begala offering me the opportunity to buy a chance to win an iPad in exchange for a $5 donation to the Democratic party. Now there's a marketing scam if ever I've seen one!)

But, getting back to the Emperor's message. Here's part of it (emphasis added):

MoogieP --
Eighteen years ago, shortly after graduating from law school, I helped lead a voter registration campaign in Chicago that generated record turnout on Election Day.

That experience taught me one of the most important lessons I ever learned as a community organizer: When people promise that they'll do something -- like voting -- they are far more likely to do it.

That's why one key part of our Vote 2010 plan this year is to get folks like you from across the country to commit to vote, to make sure we get as many people as we can to cast their ballots this fall.

But getting the commitments we need starts with your own promise to make it to the polls and cast your ballot.

Will you please commit to vote in the 2010 elections?

Over the next 82 days, volunteers across the country will spend countless hours calling voters and knocking on their doors, asking them the same question.

And you can bet that I am counting on you to join them in talking to voters in your community.

. . . .

Oh, definitely, Mr. President! I promise to vote. And you most certainly can count on me to talk to voters in my community. Rest assured, yes you can.

Those are promises I'd walk through fire to keep. You betcha.

There's Football in the Air

It's Game Day!!!!!!!!!!


But, for someone who's seriously ready for football a pre-season game will do nicely, thank you very much.

Geaux Saints! Pluck the Eagles!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Jenny Explains

Well, shoot. Ol' Jenny punked me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jenny Gives Notice

Oh yeah. Jenny is clever, clever, clever. And she has more moxie than most Congressfolk. And style.

I'll bet she already has another job lined up! (Hopefully the same won't be said for quite a number of Congressfolk come November.)

And the FLOTUS Magical Mystical Tour Continues

Speaking of 'Chelly O'Antoinette's vacay . . . . I hear the Gulf is next on the travel (gravy) train. I suppose we should expect to see this:

The Spring at Moogie's Mansion -- The Next Generation of Update

Woo hoo! The gas company and the cable company have shown up to paint messages on the street.

The gas guy told me that they'd gotten a "One Call" from the water folks to locate their underground lines so the Sewerage and Water guys can feel safe about digging. I showed him where the meter leak is and he said there should be no problem for the water guys to dig there. When I told him how long it'd been leaking, he just shook his head and gave voice to the obvious -- we all pay for those leaks. All over town. Kinda like the First Lady's Spanish-speaking vacays.

He also told me that the paint they use doesn't last very long, so the Sewerage and Water guys should be working on the leak within 10 days.

That was 15 days ago.

And the leak goes on . . . .

At least the cloaking device is still working to conceal the pool and fountain!

Oh yeah -- the separate $12 check that we had to send in made payable to the city was finally applied to the most recent bill -- not to the outstanding sanitation fee (which has miraculously disappeared), but to the water charge. How does this city stay above water financially? Oh, wait . . . .

Monday, August 9, 2010

The NORKS are Back in the Sandbox

Tensions are rising on the playground formerly known as Korea.

As South Korea finished up a joint Naval exercise with the U.S., the NORKs stuck out their collective tongue and fired a 130-missile raspberry at the South to punctuate its displeasure with the exercises.

Dear Leader must be suffering a series of TIAs. Or a second, very bratty, childhood. I can literally hear him shouting, "Nanny nanny boo-boo!"

And we know that the U.N. is sooooooo very effective in dealing with brats.

With the NORKs' propensity to act out on American holidays, Labor Day could prove interesting.

It's Still Monday, But a Little More Special Than Usual

Today is 8.9.10!! Make it a good one!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Better Check the Limit on That Race Card!

This is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. The Daily Show's “Senior Black Correspondent” Larry Wilmore discovers that "The Race Card" is maxed out and explains how that happened -- and what can replace it. It even gets in a dig at my jailbird former Congressman, "Dollar Bill" Jefferson! WARNING: Adult language.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Race Card Is Maxed Out
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

H/T to Legal Insurrection. (Ya gotta love one of the comments at LI -- "The race card has gotten used so much that its [sic] now a punchline.") Heh.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bouie's Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Bouie's sweet self is posted on the Ducks Unlimited website! The son took this pic with a cell phone during a hunt at Stuttgart. I think I've posted it here before.

There's also another shot of him running toward me on the beach. I took it last summer during a day-trip to Grand Isle. No oil booms around then, but lots of tourists.

If'n you're feeling like it, please visit the website and "like" him. I've always thought he was handsome enough to be a pin-up boy; maybe if enough people "like" him, he can be!

At Least She Got a Job

Let's see who out there is old enough to get this. Don't take a sip of coffee before you watch unless you want to Windex the monitor screen.

Reentering the workforce:

H/T to Deadenders.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Progressive's View of National Security

This has to be the ultimate in progressive suck-uppiness.

Michelle O has proclaimed that Lunch Ladies are now purveyors of national security!

While preparing and serving food to students is a valuable and honest job, I hardly think Lunch Ladies qualify as our first line of defense against America's enemies.


Who's Scamming Whom?

A Facebook friend posted this little vignette today:

A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer, “This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you.”

The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, “Which do you want, son?” The boy takes the quarters and leaves. “What did I tell you?” said the barber. “That kid never learns!”

Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store. “Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?”

The boy licked his cone and replied, “Because the day I take the dollar, the game is over!”

So -- is the kid a clever capitalist? Or is he a clever recipient of government (givernment?) handouts?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


And "crap" = 120 degrees.

I couldn't have said it better -- or more accurately -- myself. It's been doing this for waaaay too many days, but at least I'm not in Little Rock where the air temp hit 107 yesterday. Then again, 107 v. 102? A difference with little distinction.

As Pepper says, "It must be global warming."


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cultures of Criminality: By New Orleans Standards, Chicagoans are Flash-in-the-Pan Amateurs

Sunday in the Big Easy. In the dog days of August.

Last night as we left the movie theater around 8:00-ish, my stalwart Toyota told me that it was still 97 degrees outside. Today, we're forecast to tiptoe around the century mark with about 437% humidity, and I worked up a sweat this morning just setting out the oscillating sprinkler to green-up the parched patch of grass in front of Moogie's Mansion, so I'm understandably feeling a tad peckish.

And New Orleans is frankly getting on my last nerve.

Just in the last few days, multiple examples of the culture of criminality that runs this town have been reported in the local newspaper, The Times-Picayune. Those examples don't even include the Jefferson clan with all their creative high jinks, some of which are still pending trial, or other former Councilmembers.

In Friday's Metro section alone -- (1) former Nagin-administration "Technology Chief" Greg Meffert and his vendor-accomplice, Mark St. Pierre, along with Meffert's wife, were granted another postponement of their trial on kickback and bribery charges. One reason offered by the defense in support of its Motion to Postpone was the need for additional time to prepare to defend a "superseding indictment" handed up by a grand jury in early July that refined and clarified its earlier indictment to include "deprivation of 'honest services' by public officials." We're talking more than 63 felony counts, here, for defrauding the public of a million dollars. Sadly, everyone also had conflicting schedules, so the trial was postponed again, and we taxpayers must cool our heels -- again -- until late January, 2011.

(Don't you love how so many New Orleans public officials engage in "family-time crime?" The family that conspires together . . . .)

Plus, -- (2) last week, a federal judge sentenced three guys to varying prison terms after conviction "for their roles in a kickback scheme that bilked almost $300,000 from the project to widen Interstate 10 in Metairie." At least that one had gotten to the sentencing part. I don't know when that crime occurred, but they've been working on widening Interstate 10 since about the Louisiana Purchase, so there's no telling.

Then today. Today's article sent me over the edge.

It has to do with gravedigging in the seven city-owned cemeteries. About the gravedigging thing: it seems that there is none, and that there has been none since Katrina. Except, of course, for the gravedigging services creatively supplied -- for cash only -- by a city employee.

You really do need to read this article to get the whole flavor, but for those who don't have the time, here's a brief synopsis:

You apparently must go to the Division of Cemeteries (a unit of the Department of Property Management) to make arrangements to bury a loved one, and a Mrs. Wilson did just that in regard to her late mother-in-law. Mrs. Wilson met with the Interim Supervisor of Cemeteries ("interim" since Katrina, 5 years ago) who handed Mrs. Wilson a seven-page application, without requesting proof of relationship, and demanded a fee, explaining that the fee:

"was for $450: $100 to open the grave, $350 for the gravediggers -- and don't
bring anything but cash because the gravediggers get really upset about having
to deal with anything but cash

You see where this is heading, don't you?

The $350 gravediggers didn't show up as scheduled, so Mrs. Wilson went to complain to the Cemetery Supervisor's supervisor, the Real Estate Administrator for the Department of Property Management. The Supervisor's supervisor was aghast, and explained that the city doesn't supply gravediggers -- that 's the bereaved's responsibility -- but it does collect a $100 fee to cover a "supervisor to ensure that the grave is being dug correctly."

As it stands today, after that very first complaint e-ver about a gravedigging scam, (A) a new city policy requires the payment of the gravedigging-supervisor fee to be paid by check or money order only, and (B) the Interim Supervisor of Cemeteries is still listed as a city employee.

I'm not sure what happened to poor Mrs. Wilson's deceased mother-in-law, but if I were Mrs. Wilson, I'd watch my back after ratting out the gravedigging scam.

City government seems to pay a whole lot of folks to duplicate one another's efforts and to supervise one another. I wonder how I can get me one of those $100-per-grave supervisor jobs? I'd be willing to stand out in the merciless sun to do it, cooling myself with a funeral-home fan; and I know a hole when I see one. I'd be perfect for the job!

And so it goes in the City That Care Forgot.

Chicago's public thieves can't be nearly as colorful.