Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Circle Remains Unbroken

There's an angel on my shoulder.  JB's gardenia cutting not only survived and is growing, it's blooming!!!

You know how Moogie can be a little strange when it comes to the prophetic value of ordinary things that surround us.  Well, I believe that the successful rooting and thriving of my treasured gardenia is JB's way of celebrating the upcoming birth of her third grandchild -- and first granddaughter.  She'd just do something like that!

I also treated myself to some potted tulips from the Krogerville earlier this week.  After they wilt, I'll plant the bulbs in the backyard where we can see next spring's blossoms from the deck.

I'm such a happy girl.

Except for the pollen part of spring.  I'm kinda hatin' on the pollen thing.

Welcome, Spring!

Monday, March 24, 2014

G-7 to the Forefront

So, the G-8 has expelled Russia and plans to have a meeting this summer that's not in Sochi and that will not include VladPut.

And the shunning moves full steam ahead.

He must be crying into his pillow.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

This Guy Ain't Exactly Mister Rogers

Just look at this sweet face, soaking in the warm, early-spring sun this afternoon.  Take a good, long look. Can you imagine this people-pleasing pup being guilty of doing anything to cause a human being any consternation?

I didn't think so.

Well, guess again.

Yesterday, Pepper and I were working in the backyard, getting ready for spring by raking up near-literal tons of leaves and sweet gum balls, and the dogs were "helping" us by transporting sticks from one spot to another, and playing in general as big dogs are wont to do. They wandered off every now and then, so we tried to keep up with their whereabouts and call them back if they strayed too far for comfort. 

Looking from the deck, this is part of the green space with a little creek running through it behind the house. You can imagine how big ol' Labradors would just relish romping around out there.

As we were packing up the tools and getting ready to call it a day in the clean-up department, Pepper whistled for Bouie.  At the same time, a neighbor we've never met (because they live on a street far away -- our backyard backs up to that green belt, as do many others from many other streets) yelled out, "Hey!!! Your dog is in my yard taking a pi$$!"

Seeing as how that's pretty much what boy dogs do, both of us were a bit taken aback, as you might imagine.

As you may have deduced over the years that there is a reason my husband's parents nicknamed him "Pepper," you might also imagine that the air might have turned blue in Pepper's general vicinity while he explained to the unneighborly neighbor just how the cow ate the cabbage. (Or, how the labrador hiked his leg.) But, the air retained its pure, clean hue.

Instead, a few long moments of silence ensued while my imagination worked overtime at lightning speed to try to predict what was preparing to explode form my soulmate's mouth.  But then, instead of spewing invective, he simply said rather loudly, "Oh. . . . Sorry."  Then he called Bouie again.

I was very proud of my Pepper for taking the high road.  Even so, we both had a hard time letting go of this episode throughout the evening.  I mean, Bouie didn't poop, or trample any plants, or "water" the guy's grill cover or anything! He aimed at a tree, for crying out loud!  I mean, it's still stuck in my craw today. What does that guy think the coyotes do back there?!?!  No one should use that tone with someone he's never met.  Nor with his best friends or acquaintances, for that matter.

Here's a view of the neighbor's "pristine" yard from the back rail of our deck:

Looks pretty special, huh?  I'm glad the trees will leaf out soon and we won't have to look at it until Fall.

While all the neighbors on our street are very nice, pleasant folks, the people on his street must not all fit that bill.  I have, therefore, decided to put this guy in the "a**holes I don't care to get to know better" category. He'll have to earn his way out of it.

What do you wanna bet that he's a progressive?


Friday, March 21, 2014

Louisiana Politics Rears its Interesting Head

You may recall that, back on February 12, I reported on the guilty verdicts rendered in the corruption prosecution of former New Orleans mayor, C. Ray Nagin. Within that post was a little tidbit about Nagin's fellow corruption ex-con, the frequent former Governor of Louisiana and recent occupant of a federal prison "camp," 86-year old EdwinWashington Edwards.

Edwards is what some might describe as a "colorful" figure.  Others might describe him as an eccentric fellow.  Or a corrupt scoundrel.  The term, "demagogue," also has a certain accurate ring to it.  He is definitely a raconteur.

Regardless of any epithet used to characterize The Governor, one thing is certain: the man is a championship quality politician.

In addition to occupying the Governor's Mansion for an aggregate of sixteen years, Edwards also served in the Louisiana state Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. During those early years, he grew to be a master of creating political alliances and deals, so much so that in 1983 he was famously known to have bragged that he couldn't lose an election in Louisiana unless he was "caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."  One Louisiana cartoonist came up with the following, but it was never published, making what would today be known as "viral" rounds in the state via FAX machine instead:

Weakened by a corruption scandal in 1985 (for which he was eventually acquitted, after at least one mistrial), Edwards eventually went down to defeat in 1987, withdrawing from the race when Buddy Roemer placed first in the Open Primary, and handing over the keys to the Governor's Mansion well before Roemer was to be sworn in.  But was he through?  Noooooo. Not our Edwin. He quietly girded his loins and prepared for a re-match in 1991. That race proved to be one of those you-can't-make-this-stuff-up kind of scenarios.

Governor Roemer had been wiped out politically by the mess that Edwards left him, so after the smoke cleared, the 1991 Open Primary saw first place occupied by good ol' Edwin, and second place, putting him into the run-off instead of third-place Roemer, was won by David Duke.  You know -- the David Duke who was at the time a KKK elite and radical neo-Nazi.  That was an "interesting" election, with at least one bumper sticker admonishing voters to "Vote for the Crook. It's Important,"  and the good people of Louisiana did just that -- they voted the Crook back in instead of the ultra-right-wing kook.

Edwards is also a bit of a ladies man.  He is currently in his second May/December marriage, having twice divorced -- his first marriage (to Elaine) ended after 40 years (and after having appointed her to fill an unfinished term in the U.S. Senate some 17 years earlier);  his first May/December union (to Candy) ended while he was imprisoned, because "she had suffered enough."

Edward and Candy Edwards

The current Mrs. Edwards is 35-year old Trina, also the mother of his fifth child, born in August of 2013.

The happy blended Edwards family

They met after she began corresponding with and visiting him in prison, and married after his parole in 2011. In addition to their joint venture of creating a new human being (which is just kinda creepy to think about), the Edwardses also recently partnered on an A&E television reality show, "The Governor's Wife."  The program also starred two of Edwards's 60-something daughters and Trina's sons, pictured above.  To say the show was woefully atrocious is wholly inadequate to describe just how very bad it was. Mercifully, it didn't last long.

So, why am I all about The Governor today?

You won't believe this.

Well, maybe you will.  It's happening in Louisiana, after all.

Earlier this week, on Monday, the unsinkable Edwin Edwards announced his 2014 run for the 6th Congressional District seat.  The Advocate, one of Louisiana's statewide newspapers, laid out in print what many people felt:

Many agree that former Gov. Edwin Edwards will turn a sleepy race for Louisiana’s congressional 6th District seat into something more interesting, but it’s not very likely he’ll win.

I mean, really.  A  felonious, washed-up politician, reality-show reject running for national office?  Right.

Wait. What?

Today, a local polling organization announced that Edwards is not only leading the field, he is leading by 23% over his nearest rival for the Primary.  The Daily Kos leapt into the "LA-6 just went from safe -Republican to HUGE PROBLEM for GOP" spin machine, because Edwards is, after all, a Democrat.

This race should get fully cranked up about the time pre-season  football hits.  I'm not sure which will be the more entertaining spectator sport.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Case of the Creeps

Something's on the horizon. I can feel it in my bones.

I don't know whether it'll be good, bad, or something in between, but it's poised out there.

Sometimes it's not pleasant to live in interesting times.

And with the leaders of the United States and Russia engaging in a childish game of "Nanny, nanny, boo-boo! You and your friends can't come play at our house!" we seem to be stuck in a bad episode of "Dennis the Menace." Seriously. Putin and Obama need to be locked in a covered playground and made to compete in a dodge-ball contest, shirtless, until one of them yells uncle. Or Dyadya, if you will. (I'm thinking it'd be uncle.)

But, something's out there. I'm feeling really anxious.

Monday, March 17, 2014

I Think Putin is a Little More Threatening Than Secretary Kerry or the Foreign-Policy-Less Best President EVER

Saw this over at Funniest Memes:

It's looking that way.

Do you suppose this

is in the hands of dissatisfied Tatars who'd rather be left the heck alone than be either Ukrainian or Russian? Are we about to see a really big terrorism event involving a large aircraft? Or, did it simply vanish? This one is a pretty big mystery.

The Crimean vote seems to be fairly lopsided in favor of the Russkies.

I'm thinking that our valiant, forceful Secretary of State is working himself up to a pretty darn good pout about now.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Sad Farewell

It's a sad day in Moogie's World.

Elder Daughter and family are in New Orleans for a huge Family St. Patrick's celebration -- it's been planned for at least a year.  A friend has been house/dogsitting for them. We got the call while enjoying lunch after the local parade -- Pippi, ED's 11-year old Chiweenie, was in serious distress.

We raced to get there. I cuddled with her as I lay beside her on the floor, and told her what a good girl she was as she labored to breathe. Younger Daughter got there to hold her and get ED on speaker phone. Little Pippi Lou Puparoo left us after she heard her Mama's voice and responded to it. We were all a sobbing, rattled mess.

Tyson, ED's boxer boy, came home with us because he knows our pups, and will be distracted by them. He's very confused. (Although, it's not particularly unusual for Tyson to be confused. He's more of a lover than an intellect.)  And, he's a little frightened by the doggy door. I hope our pups convince him it's not going to get him.

I'll never forget the vision of a tiny, frisky half-dachshund/half chihuahua months-old puppy prancing toward me with those Dobby ears flying and tail wagging to beat the band the first time I met her. Pepper gave her a taste of his hamburger on that trip to Fayetteville -- that was her first "people" food.  We didn't tell ED for awhile. ;-)

Farewell, our Pippi Lou (or "Pickles," as SIL#1 calls her.) You'll forever remain in our hearts and memory.  I choose to remember you as that little puppy, and as patiently tolerating your Mother as she took picture after picture of you so that you could forever be our Pippi Rudolph:

Thanks for the love, little Pippi Burrito. We'll miss you so.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Landscaping, Spring?, and St. Patty's Weekend

Spring has been teasing us up one side and down the other at Moogie's Manor.  I spied a bunch of daffodils about to bloom before we left for New Orleans a few weeks ago.  They burst into flower shortly after we left, according to our friend, the Dog/House sitter.  Then came the sleet, and they never quite recovered. Here are our disabled daffodils:

And, today, I noticed for the first time that we have a Flowering Plum tree.  A BIG one!  It is sneaking into bloom in the side yard:

I am still so enthralled by the landscaping around The Manor. Every season delivers something new. Pepper and I are plotting how to add to it without detracting from any of it.  I know I want herbs and probably some tomatoes and peppers.  And daisies. He'd like a spruce or some other Christmassy evergreen. One thing we'll plant for sure, probably in the fall, is the Gardenia I rooted from a cutting of JB's huge plant in the yard at Moogie's Mansion.  I was sooooo excited to be successful in rooting it! It's presently sitting in a sunny spot in the entry hall in Moogie's Manor -- I figured that would be a good place to strengthen it before we transplant it outdoors since it's already demonstrated a liking for the sunlight there.  I wasn't able to get back to the Mansion before we left New Orleans to take another cutting, even though the new owners said we were welcome to cut as much as we'd like, but there's always next trip.  Look!  It has set flowerbuds!  (One of which has been decapitated by Mysti's excited tail. *sigh*):

And, here's my favorite pic of the day! Elder Daughter and family headed to New Orleans yesterday so that SIL#1 can join his family in the Irish Channel St. Patrick's Parade tomorrow. You read a little bit about it here once before. They split the trip into two days because they had to leave so late yesterday (and because #5 Grandchild's transportation attention span hasn't reached a full Little Rock to New Orleans length yet). So, today's second leg was filled with electronic entertainment and traffic, hence:

The Jack Kaleidoscope!

Elder Daughter can make electronics sit up ad do tricks. I think that's just too cool for school.

And, I'm still a little under the weather, so I'm easily entertained.

Happy Friday!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Breaking News: North Korean "Elections"

Short, migrainey post today:

This just in:  North Korean's Poll election has seen Kim Jong Un elected to Parliament with a 100% margin.

Kim is shown below casting what is believed to be the sole ballot in the election:

                                                             Photo Courtesy of the BBC

The young Dear Leader is said to be disappointed at not receiving a greater percentage of the electorate, and that heads potentially probably will roll.

Who woulda thunk it.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Mardi Gras Memories, Version 2014

This was definitely a different sort of Mardi Gras for us. It was fun to stay with friends and catch up with neighbors, but it just felt . . . like we were visitors.  Which, of course, we were.

Wow. That's kind of hard to admit.

Anyway, we spent the first part of the week staying with a friend in Lakeview, and we left our car there for the second part of the week, not really being up for paying $50.00 per day to park in the Quarter. Retired Navy friends picked us up there and took us to their lovely 200 year old  home in the Quarter after dinner on the Lake (they live up the street from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's house, and catty-corner from one of Nicholas Cage's former houses. One of the ones he lost during his little tiff with our pals at the IRS. I might note that our friends are less than enthralled with Brangelina.). Here are two views of the downstairs parlor:

One thing that made me feel "at home" was the ubiquitous Mardi Gras decor.  I did a few things outdoors, but didn't manage to get the lights up. That failure will not happen next year. It's just cheery to see decor like this:

One doesn't encounter decorative arts like that in Little Rock.

We made it to the old neighborhood twice, got to visit with dearly missed neighbors and meet new babies both trips, and even got an extended tour of Moogie's Mansion, which is now nothing like Moogie's Mansion inside. On Bacchus Sunday, we went to two neighborhood parties and visited with the out-of-retirement-just-for-Mardi-Gras Security Guard at St. Elizabeth's who had taken a shine to Pepper and wound up giving him quite a few hunting rifles and shotguns before we moved because he was downsizing. (That is proof positive that it certainly pays to take plates of food to the Security Guard on a regular basis!) It was a great day, but another you-don't-live-in-Moogie's-Mansion realization hit us square in the face when we couldn't find a parking place any closer to the parade route than a mile and a half! We got our exercise in that day, for sure. Here is what the front yard looks like now at the Mansion:

No more holly, jasmine, and lantana on the front fence. And JB's gardenia has been dramatically pruned. It should be okay though -- it survived Bouie's puppyhood, after all. They offered to let us take the Mother's Day birdbath, but we didn't get back over there on the way home. At least I have a picture of it as it sits today.

I went with our Lakeview friend to the Mystic Krewe of Nyx's parade on Wednesday night after our arrival while Pepper relaxed. It was freakin' freezing! And I didn't wear nearly enough clothes, thinking I was back in New Orleans and all -- it took me all night to thaw out beneath the covers. Who knew? This is one of my favorite new floats -- it's one of the signature Nyx floats:

Cosmo, anyone?

I can't believe I didn't take more pics of the food we gorged ourselves on during the week.  Maybe I feared that just looking at the pics would pack on the pounds. On Friday night, we had dinner at Ralph's on the Park with our real estate guy -- he had become a very good friend. He even bought Pepper's 911 so we wouldn't have to move it. (Don't grieve for Pepper's loss of a Porsche.  He had a gently used, but not terribly well-maintained, Cayenne waiting for him in Little Rock that had found its way into the family last spring during a trip when we were supposed to be babysitting, not car shopping. I call it "The German Lemon." Hopefully, it's in good shape now, plus we can get in and out of it a lot easier than the 911.) This preceded dinner -- a cucumber martini. (It had been prettier -- I had already eaten the cucumber slice perched on the rim of the glass):

This was my dinner -- Visiting Fish:

I think we had dessert, but it disappeared PDQ.

This was breakfast with the Krewe of Eggs on Mardi Gras morning on St. Charles Avenue across from Gallier Hall.  Pretty darn good buffet on a dreary, cold, rainy morning!

But, I think this was my favorite.  A shrimp Po Boy from our neighborhood grocery, Zara's.  Or what was left of it by the time I snapped this pic. I called in the order as we were hiking toward the old neighborhood and it was steaming hot by the time we got there, just waiting on us. We ate it on the neutral ground. It also pays not to delete numbers from one's phone when one moves:

There was a lot more food and fun than I photographed. And I finally got to see the Sophie B. Wright Academy marching band as Zulu passed our restaurant on Mardi Gras morning!

Writing this post brought up some very pleasant memories.  And it kept me from concentrating on Ukraine and our paper tiger president, who is on yet another golf vacation in the Florida Keys while the world threatens to implode.

Thank you for your indulgence.  I think I'll go find a little snack!

And maybe a cocktail. After all, it's 5:00 in the Florida Keys.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The NOPD Goes Wobbling Along

New Orleans police (they call themselves "cops") may have a slightly tarnished reputation about a few things (corruption, hair-trigger-fingers, and any number of other things), but when it comes to crowd control and "community policing," they shine. We had good experiences with the "Quality of Life" officer assigned to our 2nd District, and experienced quick responses every time we called them about trouble of one kind or another at Moogie's Mansion. Especially if firearms were involved. And, yes, there were a few incidents, but those are stories for another day.

There are a couple of videos circulating today that show off some of those community policing skills, with a New Orleans flavor.  The first is a beat cop who joins in on the Mardi Gras fun, probably somewhere in Mid-City during Endymion's run.  Rats.  No embed code.  Try this link to the nola.com video here.  Yeah! That works (after the stupid commercial, and it takes a bit to load so be patient).

The other one isn't as long, and it shows a Homicide Detective busting some moves.  I found it at Lagniappe's Lair:

Pretty cool, huh?

You don't see that just anywhere.  I think the Homicide Detective has a better command of the boogie skillz than the beat cop. Maybe there's a dancing component on the Detective's Exam. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

You Know How to Whistle, Don't You? (Updated and Fixed!)

Posting on the iPhone in the car on the way home after a wonderful, jam-packed week in New Orleans, so there may be some interesting spellings. And, I'm pretty worn out, so expect random blatherings. Disclaimer complete. (Fixed!)

During a dinner conversation with some of our delightful hosts, a childhood memory escaped from its drawer in my head and made its presence known:

When I was in elementary school, my Daddy owned a 1/3 interest (together with other Korean War vets) in a pontoon party barge on Lake Maumelle just outside Little Rock. We spent many happy times aboard, tooling around the lake, occasionally getting a fishing line wet. The boat was christened the "FUBAR Maru." I was well into adulthood before I learned the acronym doesn't stand for "FOULED Up Beyond All Recognition."

Yeah, Moogie led a pretty sheltered childhood.

Today, with all of the hullabaloo going on in Ukraine, together with all the impotent, indecisive inaction going on in DC, as a scales-fallen-from-the-eyes adult, I can without doubt or hesitation, assert that the acronym most definitely fits hand-in-glove with the Obama administration.

And it's only getting worse.

IRS scapegoat chick, Lois Lerner, repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment in this morning's Congressional hearing concerning the IRS's targeting and unequal treatment of conservative groups seeking 501(C)(4) status.

Nothing suspicious there.

But . . . I'm just the tiniest bit hopeful that a breeze is building and heading toward the Obama FUBAR House of Cards.  So, let's all pucker up and blow!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Ukraine: Conspiracy Theory du Jour

I'm working on the iPad, and I'm not very adept at cutting and pasting, so there will probably be no links. And you'll have to trust me on the veracity of my facts. Just remember that I was a docent at the National D-Day Museum, so I'm pretty accurate on my WWII era trivia.

I've been thinking.

That can be dangerous sometimes, according to Pepper.

Anyway, I now postulate that the Young President's administration has potentially been doing an intentional run-up to this Ukraine mess, coupled with the tanked economy, in order to reach a more sinister end.

Hence, a significant reduction in the Defense budget was recently announced due to policy changes in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with a need to pare the budget.  Also, we will shortly experience a drawdown in troop strength which will reduce our military readiness to levels not experienced since the isolationist period following WWI. Seriously.

So, if we find ourselves needing to amp up troop strength because Russia is rattling swords, how can we prepare to pitch in to help our "treaty" partner, Ukraine? (While Ukraine is not a member of NATO, it is a signatory to the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, which was designed  to give some comfort to the emerging nations after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today, Kiev demanded enforcement of the accord.)

Facing similar need, after WWI, when our troop strength was cripplingly impaired, what did we do to prepare to save the world as the bad guys were gearing up to overtake as much of it as they could?

We instituted a draft, of course!

So, here comes The Draft!

But, you might say, what about those opposed to VIOLENT military service? We mustn't compel them to engage in conduct that they find distasteful! Of course not.  So, what if there will be an option for nominal "national service?" The Young President could then have his "civilian force," first alluded to in the campaign for his first term. And, then what?

I leave you to ponder that.

And, seriously. Think about it.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Obama Amps It Up a Notch For Ukraine

This just in from Ukraine: trucks bearing Russian plates disgorged masked and armed troops wearing uniforms with no insignia that have effectively taken over the Crimea. Other Russian troops are on the move.

Meanwhile, France has jumped on the "there will be costs" bandwagon via her Foreign Minister.

And the Young President shifted gears and has moved beyond the "stern talking-to" strategy. He warned Putin that further aggression would lead to deeper "isolation" for Russia on the International front.

Yes, the leader of the free world has threatened the Russian Bear with a shunning.

This is not looking promising.