Monday, February 28, 2011

Those Clever Folks

One of the reasons that Sophie Wright Academy has improved its academic performance and its stature in the city is the hard work and creativity of its faculty, staff, and parent support groups.  And when I say creative, I mean creative! 

Sophie Wright owns its own (confounded!) buses, it has purchased uniforms for sports teams, bands, and spirit groups.  It does this by writing some pretty spiffy grant applications to supplement its budget, and through good ol' industrious ingenuity.  Witness:

Charge folks $20 to park, feed 'em, load 'em up on soda and beer (beer?!?!  And for only $2.00?!?!), then charge 'em to use the facilities.  They do this both weekends before Carnival.  You just have to love such a hard-working and enterprising place!

(Could this ever happen anyplace other than New Orleans?  Unlikely.)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Carnival 2011 -- Weekend 1

My wonderful friend (she who should've been my sister, the one who lives part-time in Little Rock and the rest of the time in Hong Kong) came for a visit this weekend!  She is what is known around these parts as a "Mardi Gras Virgin," in that she has never experienced Carnival.  We're doing our best to make sure she gets thoroughly de-flowered.  Here is a little bit of the stuff we've dragged her to (and made her wear!).

The Krewe of Cork's sashay through the French Quarter.

This is a friend of mine dressed up as champagne bubbles.  Doesn't Moogie have interesting friends?

The Irish Channel Marching Club's St. Patty's Day "Practice Parade" near Harrah's, including SIL#1 as a brand new member.  The wife of one of SIL#1's cousins says she doesn't understand why a bunch of grown men need to practice drinking and marching at the same time.  Well, it's obvious to me why they need the practice -- it's to get their "sea legs" so they can use the porta-potties on the float-in-motion.  That takes some practice, according to SIL#1.

Franky & Johnny's.  They make the best fried onion rings and peppers on the face of the planet (but, you don't want to look at the floor!).

A large black dog on guard duty as revelers head toward the neutral ground.  We sat on the porch soaking up the gorgeous weather in between parades.


Parades, parades, parades!

And, last but not least -- the Sophie Wright Marching Band and Spirit Groups in full regalia (the sound's kinda loud)!


There's still much more fun to be had!  I'm going to go revel a bit more and try not to think about union thugs and Ghadify and the NorKs.  I doubt I'll have much trouble not thinking about them!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Get to Know Zeus' Place: A Haven for Critters

Copyright, Zeus' Place, New Orleans

With all the wicked and incomprehensible nonsense going on in the world, I'm just in the mood for a good ol' feel-good story and this news clip fits the bill perfectly. 

Michelle Ingram is the owner of Zeus' Place here in New Orleans.  Since she and her husband bought a flooded-out building after Katrina, she has transformed her little kennel into a thriving business enterprise where pets are lovingly boarded (including Bouie and Rosie -- yes, they board special needs pets!), groomed, and, literally, saved.  One of their sweet groomers has even figured out that our blind little Rosie won't freak out and is not so very hard to groom if she is simply held in the groomer's lap while getting gorgeous.  Now, that's a genuine animal lover.

Zeus' Place takes its name from Michelle's late chocolate lab, and, as you may have already surmised, the employees are among the nicest people you'd ever encounter.  The front office walls are covered with poster-size pictures of regular "clients," and the large front picture-windows are home to the kitty crates.  Kitties like to look out of windows, so this is the ideal spot for the many boarded and rescued cats from across the region.  In the evenings, the kitties (at least those that work and play well with others) are turned loose to play and romp.  It's a hoot to watch them on one of the many cameras they have set up so that you can monitor your pet, and check out the goings-on at ZP, via their website.

Adoption Days are staged regularly -- there's no telling how many pets have been placed in loving homes as a result of Michelle's hard work and the network she's cultivated over the years.  They even post photos on their website, and Facebook, of adoptables and "visiting pet of the day," along with a little narrative (or poem!) about the critter.

Zeus' Place was also an anchor in Freret Street's commercial renaissance following Katrina.  The transformation of that business corridor has been nothing short of remarkable, considering that it pretty much resembled the aftermath of Armageddon a few short years ago.  Well, I suppose it was smack-dab in the middle of the aftermath of Armageddon.  But today, it's a clean, cheery, bustling street with schools, businesses, monthly Markets, an annual festival, and even decorated bus stop shelters, thanks to the efforts of Michelle and company.

I feel blessed to count the Zeus' Place family among my friends.  I try to donate a little food to them every now and then because, well, just because.  Thank goodness there are such compassionate, energetic people in this sometime-dismal world!

Yesterday, Michelle and friends rescued a starving puppy stranded on an island, and WWL, the local CBS affiliate, went along for the ride.  It's a heart-warming story.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thank God for Right-to-Work States and Their Thinking Citizens

I must say, I have never been quite so pleased to live in a right-to-work state as I have this last week.

To my way of thinking, the public unions in Wisconsin have shown at least the dark underbelly of their self-perpetuating existence, and at worst, they've shown their intent.  Their intent can be no less than to choke every last concession possible out of the taxpayers even if it means taking down the whole state with them.  What will happen when the layoffs start and union dues revenue falls off as a consequence?  We just might see the leopard's true spots at that point -- and it ain't a leopard at all, it's a jackal.

George Will had a pretty good column today in which he lays out some of the economic issues surrounding the bill, i.e., pension and health insurance contributions by the public employee.  Will notes that Wisconsin's Civil Service law is the source of most worker "rights," not collectively bargained union contracts.  He also compares and contrasts the "leadership" qualities of Wisconsin Governor Walker and President Barry Obama, and it is George Will, so you can count on it being elegantly stated.  And accurate: the Prez comes off as an interloping cheerleader.  A somewhat prevaricating interloping cheerleader.

Most of the debate about this Bill revolves around collective bargaining and economic issues.  What has gotten short shrift in most media coverage of the shenanigans going on up north, however, is the simple fact that Wisconsin public employees are currently de facto members of a "Union Shop" or "Agency Shop," (under which payment of union dues and/or membership in the union is required of every employee).  These arrangements are permitted under current federal law (the Taft-Hartley Act), but not favored, and they lead to some very powerful unions and union leaders.  The proposed Wisconsin statute would require unions to submit to an annual representation vote (to prove that more than 50% of the affected employees want continued representation by that particular union); would permit affected employees to opt out of union membership; and would do away with dues "check-off" (a practice in which the employer automatically deducts union dues from employees' paychecks and turns the dues over to the union -- see also, the Employee Free Choice Act).  I see nothing wrong with these proposals whatsoever.

I understand that some people get a lot of satisfaction from membership in a union, and I really don't have a problem with that.  Let those who want to go to Labor Day picnics with their brethren have their way!  I get satisfaction from supporting several organizations and going to their gatherings, too.  But that is my choice.

Like I said, I'm really pleased today to be living in a right-to-work state where the individual gets to decide which organizations he wishes to join and support.

Now, that whole "demanding that the taxpayer subsidize public union employees' pensions and health insurance" thing is a big ol' can of worms, and I think I'd rather not go fishing anymore today, thank you very much.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Glorious Friday Afternoon and New Orleans' Finest

New Orleans pedestrians are among the most aggressive on the face of the planet.  They challenge vehicles, as if daring the drivers to hit them.  Their sauntering, I-have-all-the-time-in-the world gait is infuriating.   And don't get me started on the bicyclists.  It's a literal miracle that more of them don't die on the mean streets of the Crescent City. 

Two of them almost did today.

I'm normally a pretty nice person, considerate of others, and willing to wait my turn in most situations (unless it involves major blood loss, or something in that vein).  I always defer to pedestrians when I'm supposed to -- in crosswalks and at major intersections where signs instruct me to yield to folk on foot.  (Well, almost always).  And I always slow to posted speed, or slower, in school zones.  Children are unpredictable and can dart past a crossing guard on a lark, not thinking about the consequences.

Adults should know better.

I was toodling down Prytania Street earlier, on my merry way to accomplish some stuff, and the light turned green for my direction as the car ahead of me approached the intersection at Napoleon.  Two oblivious young women -- twenty- or thirty-somethings -- stepped into the street to cross, causing the car in front of me to stomp on the brakes and swerve to avoid them.  But, even as they looked up to note that they were crossing against the light, did they return to the sidewalk?  Did they even stop

That would be a big negatory.

And they kept right on strolling!  One of them was even talking on a cell phone!  (There's a shocker, huh?)

Moogie must've been feeling a little peckish this afternoon because I slowed, and as I swerved around them, I laid on the horn.  That got their attention and they stopped long enough to allow me to pass, after they returned to Earth from their startled leaps into the air.

I didn't see the Police car on the other side of Napoleon. 

He woop-wooped his siren at me, and I briefly thought, well, hell.  I'm going to rot in the Orleans Parish pokey for terrorizing thoughtless pedestrians.  But, no.  This is New Orleans!

As I looked at him to see what he wanted me to do, he flashed me a big ol' grin and shot me a thumbs up out his open window.

Sometimes ya really gotta love the cops in this city.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's Boom-Boom Time!

All right!  It's time to start getting pumped about Mardi Gras!

Moogie's Mansion is one block off the major Uptown parade route.  There are usually in excess of 20 parades that roll during the last week and a half of Carnival, and the marching bands always practice drumlines while they're waiting to get started.  Consequently, hearing drumlines always gets me pumped for Mardi Gras, and I thought I'd share a bit of that excitement with you. 

This is the Sophie Wright Marching Band, Spirit Squads, and chaperones doing an around-the-neighborhood practice run yesterday, training for the miles and miles and miles that they'll march over the next several weeks.  The little guy on his dad's shoulders in the street is our nearly-2-year-old neighbor, Ren.  He was spitting a cloud of unswallowed graham crackers from his mouth as he clapped and cheered for the band -- his dad told me that when the drums started up, Ren yelled, "Boom-boom, Daddy!  Boom-boom!  Go see!  Go see!  Go see!!!"  So, they went to go see, go see, go see!!!  Without even finishing his snack!  They're never gonna be able to get that kid to move away from the parade route.

Without further ado, Sophie Wright's finest:
video
Welcome to my World.  They'll do this every day for the foreseeable future.  Often.  They and their sponsors work so very hard.  Ya gotta learn to love it, and I have!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Afterglow

Valentine's Day 2011 concluded with an amazingly good (if I do say so myself -- and I do!) dinner that involved scallops, lobster, asparagus, pasta, and chocolate.  All enjoyed at home, far from the madding crowds at restaurants.  I even vacuumed!

It was too cool to sit on the freshly-cleaned porch by the time Pepper got home, so we enjoyed the champagne with strawberries macerated in Cointreau indoors, in the company of the dogs and Wheel of Fortune.  Vanna looked lovely, as did I in my "Kitchen Diva" apron.

Although I didn't expect a thing, Pepper surprised me with something simple and shiny!  He told me I'm lucky he thinks Mignon-Faget is such a cool store, and I certainly can't disagree.  He also presented me with the sweetest and most thoughtful store-bought card I've ever seen!  For real!  Here it is.

First, the cover:

Now, the inside:

He knows us soooo well.  Isn't that the sweetest thing you've ever seen!

Bouie, on the other hand, doesn't appear to be the biggest fan of Valentine's Day.  Here he is trying not to chew on a remembrance from Valentine's Day past.  Just look at that expression!

Seriously?!?!

There's something so romantic about not planning an over-the-top observation of a Hallmark-related event, and discovering that being in the comfortable presence of a loved one can become over-the-top all on its own.

Even so, shiny things will always offer romantic potential.  Especially unexpected shiny things.  Insert smiley face here!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine

To all my blog buddies out there:



Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!


Now, now.  It could have been so much worse!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saga of the Spring, Chapter Next -- Evolution of a Pothole

Perhaps we should have requested an asphalt crew in addition to the water-main repair crew. Those literal folks who answered the phone at the "Help, there's water pouring out of my street!" department apparently just create holes to repair water pipes, and the citizenry must request street repair from a separate "Hey!  Shovel something over that hole in the street!" department. 

The water pipe repair crew filled in the hole it dug, but, this being New Orleans and all where it rains quite a bit, the absence of anything to seal the replaced dirt in place has allowed the dirt to escape once more via being washed out.  Hence, . . .


. . . where once there was a babbling "spring,"

there is now a growing pothole.


I think some folks are gonna sprain some ankles in a couple of weeks come parade time.  Maybe I should buy an orange cone to stick in the pothole to warn overserved and/or observance-challenged revelers.

Nah.  Last time I put out orange cones to try to save parking spots, someone stole 'em.

Wonder how deep it'll get?

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Mystery and Seduction of Egypt

Mystery surrounds the ancient Great Sphinx of Giza that, even today, inspires endless debate and speculation.  It is fitting that it sits sentinel in Egypt.

After Mubarak's departure today, who will assume legitimate leadership roles in Cairo?  How will American foreign aid be "distributed?"  Apparently no one in the White House is willing to say whether the Muslim Brotherhood will get its mitts on our filthy American dollars.  That unwillingness, in itself, leads me to raise both eyebrows, and to harbor even deeper displeasure not only that Barack Obama sits in the Oval Office, but also that he will not rule out sitting at table with jackals. 

These filthy American dollars of which the White House is so loathe to discuss are in addition to the current $1.3 billion we already pump into Egypt's military.  If we turn off the aid spigot, who will step in to fill the bucket again?  Friend or foe? 

Do we truly even have any friends abroad anymore?

The Egyptian Army is probably the safest option to maintain a semblance of stabililty in the region for the time being, but who among the opposition parties has the big picture in mind as the youth of Egypt keep the Bacchanalia of Freedom alive in the streets?  Who among the opposition parties has enough trust in (and the trust of) the Army to be able to work with it come election time?  Who among the opposition will adhere to the fragile notion that Israel does indeed have the right to exist?  Who can resist the seductive lure of caliphate?

A solution to this modern Egyptian mystery is going to be difficult to wait out.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Is Who on First in Egypt? I Don't Know -- Third Base!

Yep.  Mr. Foreign Policy -- that's our Obama.  He has his finger squarely on the pulse of the CIA which has its finger squarely on the pulse of world happenings.  Except, apparently, in Egypt.  Or maybe the operatives and analysts forgot to clue Director Leon Panetta in on the scoop.

Well, at least the Young President seems to be in lock-step with the leaders of Egypt.  They don't seem to know who's on first either.

"As your father president, I'm not stepping down until the September elections."  "As Vice-president, I'm taking over, but don't listen to radio or read newspapers, or watch television."

Was anyone else reminded of Alexander Haig in the immediate aftermath of Ronald Reagan's shooting?

And, to re-assure all Americans that he's on top of this powderkegger situation, our Young President told a college crowd in Michigan:

"We are witnessing history unfold. .  .  .  It's a moment of transformation that is taking place because the people of Egypt are calling for change."
Yeah.  He's pretty big on listening to people who call out to him about change.  I'm not feeling what anyone could actually characterize as "comforted."

This is just all a little too unsettling, on way too many levels.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Accolades Live On

You'll note that I've added the Major Award to my sidebar (and I figured out how to do that all by myself!). 

Now, when stopping by Moogie's World, the whole blogosphere will immediately recognize that I'm not the Least Stylish Blogger alive.

When my crown arrives, I'll be sure to post it there, too.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Major Award: Better than an Emmy, but Probably Not as Good as a Pulitzer.

Nearly a week ago, whilst making the blogrounds, I discovered that my buddy in Oregon, Innominatus, had deemed  my little ol' Moogie's World worthy of the coveted Stylish Blogger Award!  I've been beside myself with pride ever since, even though Inno won't tell me whether the award comes with a crown and whether I must travel to Oregon to acquire said crown.

So now, I step up to fulfill (most) of the prerequisites to donning the diadem of Stylish Blogs.  The following is Inno's description of the prereqs:

Receiving this award comes with some conditions: I'm supposed to list 7 things about me, then list 15 good blogs I've recently encountered. Those 15 bloggers will then be eligible for this award, if they likewise mention those 7 things and list 15 good blogs. You can do the math... If each of those 15 cite 15 more and so on, that's 15n and n doesn't have to get very big before every last blog on earth has been mentioned. How unfortunate it'll be for that last very blogger to receive this award - the one who realizes that there are no more blogs out there left to forward this award to, and this whole thing has been nothing but a viciously darwinian way of determining who is the very LEAST stylish blogger in the world.
I'd better hurry before I become the least stylish blogger in the world.

Let's see.  Seven things about me.

1.  I like crowns.
2.  I often like to boogie oogie oogie til I just can't boogie no more.
3.  I can touch the tip of my nose with my tongue.
4.  I can be five feet in height if I stand up very straight and think tall thoughts.
5.  One of my very, very least favorite places in the world is in a line at any U.S. Post Office.  Or in a line most anywhere.
6.  Football ranks highly among my religious dogmas.
7.  Misused apostrophes may send me right over the edge someday, and the authorities will find me in a bell tower with a semi-automatic weapon and a copy of Strunk & White's Elements of Style. (How very apropos to mention that likelihood here!)

There.  First prereq done.

Next, to nominate some Stylish blogs I follow, some of which may have already been nominated, and most of which aren't particularly new to me.  If that small diversion wrecks my chance at getting a crown, so be it.  It'll save me a trip to Oregon where they apparently have some, um, "interesting" city policies.


So, in no particular order, here goes:

1.  Exiled in Portales.  Buck's ruminations on most anything that crosses his mind.  And beer.  And cigars.  And music.
2.  My Voice on the Wings of Change.  Namaste's rants about politics, race, and tennis.  She tells it like it is.
3.  MacBourne's Musings.  Guns, politics, and the great outdoors.  With a flair.
4.  Lagniappe's Lair.  A man, his dogs, their guns, and their adventures with popcorn, ice cream, and cats.  And snow.  Lots of snow.
5.  Boogie's Blog.  A young man in Mississippi weighs in on what's happening now.  And other times.
6.  Ack, Thbbt!  Family and the stuff that happens.
7.  Hillcrest Cottage Life.  The Arts, the neighborhood, and family.  And lots of uplifting thoughts.
8.  A Blonde and a Brunette.  Two women's views on the world of fashion, entertainment, and fun.
9.  Look, A Baby Wolf!  Just plain funny.
10.  Bad Example.  Ruminations of a funny guy.  Sonmetimes with salty language. 
11.  Andy's Place.  Andy's world and views from northern Louisiana.  Plus, since this is at least his second nomination, he's gonna have to do lots of catching up!  So, I guess I'll be kind and nominate One Happy Dog Speaks instead.  It's a good place to visit.  You're off the hook, Andy.
12.  Chicks on the Right.  Two conservative women share their views, "because conservatism needs a makeover."
13.  Bless Our Hearts.  Southern Girl and The General offer observations and analyses of politics and government.  Except they've been sadly neglecting this blog for waaay too long.
14.  Our Little World.  A young couple's voyage though life with dogs and family.
15.  As You Were.  The adventures of one of the World's Oldest Second Lieutenants as he waltzes through the world of field artillery.

So now.  Go visit these folks and tell them they are Award Winners (even if Ed McMahon isn't going to show up on their doorsteps).  But, remind them that I am the only one to wear the crown!  It's mine, I tell you.  With Style.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Bowl Eve

Super Bowl Eve.

Since we're kind of in mourning that the Saints Championship wreath must be taken down from the front door tomorrow, apparently a Foodie contest has arisen to fill the vacuum of Championship caliber fan-dom at Moogie's Mansion.

Pepper and Bouie bagged ducks; Moogie shopped for other ingredients, cleaned produce, found spices whose location escaped the chef, washed pots and pans and a whole bunch of other stuff, and provided moral support in general for the forthcoming of Duck Andouille Gumbo.

Tomorrow, I shall prepare the 4-hour-sauce Veggie Lasagna (since access to the kitchen has been preempted by gumbo tonight), and, it's on!!!

Regardless of the outcome of the Foodie Championship at Moogie's Mansion (which we intend to take on the road as a moveable feast to friends and neighbors), let it be proclaimed now and henceforth that while Moogie is a kick-ass Chef, she is even more kick-ass as a gumbo Sous Chef.

And let it be known that Moogie will insist on adequate kitchen ventilation in any future dwellings. Or easily disabled smoke alarms.

Good rouxs produce some serious smoke!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Winter Experience South of Interstate 10

Classes have been dismissed at LSU and untold numbers of Parish schools, there have been some pretty bad pile-ups on the long bridges around here, there's a cold rain falling, and I'm wearing sweat pants and socks!  Daughters, their dogs, and their men are having a "snowed-in slumber party" at Younger Daughter's Place in Little Rock while big, fat flakes fly.

All this winter frivolity has led to The Facebook being a pretty rich source of winter weather material today.  I cracked up at these and decided to steal them, the better to share them.  Here's a video that explains to the world north of I-10 how we approach winter precipitation in the south:

And this. We are not a winter-hardy people in the South (click to enlarge):


I may not be ready for 70s or 80s, but I could surely stand to be out of the 30s.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  I hear you all playing those thumb-and-finger record players of violin music for me.  Hush up and go make some snow ice cream -- at least you have some pretty white stuff to go along with your wrapped pipes and pets-in-the-bed! 

This woman appears to have adopted the "North of Interstate 40 Attitude" --


Does that about capture it? Heh.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stolen Humor. Funny Stolen Humor. For Thursday.

Stolen from One Happy Dog Speaks:

Humor for Wednesday

Posted by: vw bug in Humor

Cletus is passing by Billy Bob’s hay barn one day when, through a gap in the door, he sees Billy Bob doing a slow and sensual striptease in front of an old green John Deere .

Buttocks clenched, he performs a slow pirouette, and gently slides off first the right strap of his overalls, followed by the left.

He then hunches his shoulders forward and in a classic striptease move, lets his overalls fall down to his hips, revealing a torn and frayed plaid shirt .

Then, grabbing both sides of his shirt, he rips it apart to reveal his stained T-shirt underneath. With a final flourish, he tears the T- shirt from his body, and hurls his baseball cap onto a pile of hay.

Having seen enough, Cletus rushes in and says,”What the heck are you doing, Billy Bob?”

“Jeez, Cletus, ya scared the bejeezers out of me,” says an obviously embarrassed Billy Bob.

“But me’n the Ol’ Lady been havin’ trouble lately in the bedroom d’partment, and the therapist suggested I do ‘something sexy to a tractor’.”

[Don't make me come 'splain this to you! ---Read the last line again, slowly--out loud.]

Madison Avenue Gets All Cute

I was folding laundry this afternoon and came across the cutesy-ist product name I've encountered in quite awhile:   Runderwear.

Yes, Runderwear.

One is exposed to all kinds of interesting products like that when one is married to a retired-military, fitness-and-outdoorsy kind of guy.  So, yes indeedy, Runderwear is being worn and laundered at my house.

There's rarely a dull moment at Moogie's Mansion.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Day the Rodents Found Themselves at Loggerheads

It's Groundhog Day and that little scaredy cat Punxhutawney Phil didn't have to hide from his own shadow, portending an early Spring for folks north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

On the other hand, in Lafayette, Louisiana, Pierre C. Shadeaux, the Cajun Nutria, did see his shadow, thus dooming us to an early, long, hot, humid summer.

On yet another hand (or toes or something), it sleeted and flurried in New Orleans today, and we are now under a Winter Weather Advisory until sometime Friday!

I think there are some confused rodents out there.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Marketeers Are Out-clevering Themselves

Being the civic-minded citizen she is, Moogie often signs online petitions related to many diverse causes from the heathcare debate, to the resurgent cancer of organized labor, to women's issues, and beyond (after checking out the cause beforehand, of course).

Occasionally, the organization that sponsors a petition will email a follow-up survey about the petition's content or the issue or whatever.  I usually don't mind responding to a brief survey if I feel that I won't be marrying myself to the organization by doing so.  No big deal.

Except.  Except when the organization moves itself into the fundraising field.  Even so, and rarely, I will contribute to a cause from time to time if I feel my little pittance will actually matter in advancing the cause I've adopted as my own.

But now the marketeers have come up with a new scam, and it has gotten Moogie to seeing red. 

The other day I received an email from one of those organizations about political issues, which ones I feel -- as a woman -- deserve a voice in DC, and why.  I decided to take the survey.  It was composed of thoughtful questions about significant issues and called for actual analysis before answering.  How, exactly, do I rank surreptitious efforts to regulate environmental issues rather than passing them through the legislative process?  Which is more important to me -- repealing healthcare or slowing Congress down from its breakneck speed of legislating-frenzy?  I spent a good 30 minutes thinking about, and crafting,  my answers.  Then I hit "Submit."  And the survey took me to a "You haven't donated yet" page.  And it wouldn't accept my survey form until I gave it a credit card.  So, I closed the window (actually, I did the virtual equivalent of slamming the window shut!) and vowed not only not to play with those people anymore, but also to be much more circumspect about who will be invited to play with me in the future.

That, folks, is theft by deception.  You're stealing my time by asking for my help and then trying to guilt me into ponying up the bucks.  You're stealing my time by leading me to believe that I'm participating in something worthwhile.  You're stealing my time without giving the disclaimer up front.

You're no better than a three-card Monty game, or the scammer in the French Quarter who bets you $20 he can tell you "where you got your shoes at."  You're as bad or worse than the folks in Nigeria/London who inform you that you've hit the Nigerian lottery/become co-heir by default to a huge fortune, and that you can claim the spoils by providing the correspondent with your banking deposit information/a contribution to offset costs of probating the estate.

So, here's fair warning, Good Causes and your Marketeers: it won't fly anymore at Moogie's Mansion.  Don't keep doing it and risk ruining it for all the other causes out there, because Moogie is just about to the point of cutting all of you off from her time as well as her money.

And, that you can take to the bank.