Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

And, we remember all those who gave their all.

With admiration and gratitude.

I've known several service-trained dogs. They're pretty special.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is always a solemn time for me. An uplifting thing occurred on Friday, though -- Pepper found a spot on the house with enough wood ( instead of Dri-vit) to support a flag bracket!  So now Old Glory is proudly flying at Moogie's Manor, just as it did at the Mansion in NOLA.

Pepper and I joined friends on Friday night at Riverfest so we could turn back the hands of time at a "Chicago" concert! Man, those guys are genuine musicians! Then, last night, The Son and his group went back to Riverfest so that #1 could do a little volunteer work (yay, #1!!), but we had a family cookout anyway with Daughters' families, including 2/5 of the grandkids (##4 and 5).  Don't they look like they're cooking up something mischievous?


Tonight we'll have Swedish food (smorgasbord of leftovers!), and think about what to grill tomorrow. Ah, tomorrow.  Memorial Day.

Never forget.

Thank God, indeed.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Post-election Fatigue

Tuesday was Primary election day in Arkansas. The ads were flying fast and furiously. Some were amusing, some were tacky. But, there were a boatload of them and we got really tired of them.

I mean really tired!

So, in an effort to curb campaign spending, (and in a bigger effort to effect a de facto enactment of term limits) I'm dragging out my old Plan to re-vamp how folks get sent to DC to run (and ruin) our lives:


Moogie's Fun and Revolutionary Plan for Public Service Reform in D.C.

In a moment of blinding clarity, I have stumbled upon what could be the salvation of our nation and our Republic.

We have to chunk out our system of federal elections and start over from scratch.

The states may continue to do whatever they please for intra-state elections pursuant to the Tenth Amendment, and that'll get the Feds off their backs for a whole lot of stuff, primarily because the Feds will have been forced to acknowledge and abide by the Tenth Amendment. If folks don't like what policies their state is enacting in connection with a particular issue, like, say, same-sex marriage, then they are free either to try to effect change in their state through legislation or move to another state whose laws more closely reflect their beliefs. Hello, Republic! A confederation of independent states who are free to follow the will of their citizens, not the sometime-well-intentioned-but-often-cuckoo citizens of Soviet Socialist Massachusetts or Pelosi-world.

You may not be aware of the fact that I was -- fairly recently -- a strong opponent of term limits. I believed institutional memory to be a very important component of orderly government -- we shouldn't have to re-invent the wheel time after time after time simply because no one was in Congress or the Governor's mansion who could remember what happened the last time someone came up with the same boneheaded idea, or how badly its implementation failed. Today, I simply don't care. There are too many boneheaded ideas floating around this ol' world to prevent their redundancy, so opposing term limits is no longer on my radar.

The notion of needing to devise some reasonable facsimile of term limits brought me to the election of our Republics' representatives in D.C. -- so, let's just get all Constitutional about it and return to the Founding Fathers' notion of true "public servants" in which people are called to serve their fellow citizens for a brief amount of time, not to make a career of meddling in the lives of every citizen.

We can retain the Constitutional requirements for eligibility to serve (e.g., age, natural-born citizenship, residency) -- they're pretty sensible. But as for the actual "election" -- there will be no further federal elections.

We're going to have a National Public Service Lottery.

Every eligible U.S. voter (eligibility to be determined by each state) will be required to purchase two lottery tickets: one each in the POTUS/VPOTUS Scratch-off in which only two tickets have all the magic numbers (indexed to population or voter registration; details and cost to be worked out later), but the Presidential Powerball Number on one ticket wins the White House and the runner-up moves into One Observatory Circle at the U.S. Naval Observatory as VPOTUS, both for the Constitutional term of four years. No one may win the POTUS/VPOTUS Scratch-off more than two terms in a row.

Additionally, the eligible voters of each state and territory will be required to purchase similar lottery tickets for Senator (lotteries to be staggered to accommodate rotating 6-year terms) and Representative: one winner per slot per state.

Of course, we'd have to do away with the Electoral College and replace it with a Commission of Electoral Inspection to determine the qualifications and eligibility of winners. The Commission could be composed of 3 members (to have a tie-breaker), appointed, one apiece, by the President, The Senate, and the House of Representatives. Vacancies occurring in Congressional office could be filled by vote of the vacant office's State Senate; presidential succession would be in effect until the following lottery.

Would there be a chance for cheating or corruption? Of course. Is there now?!?! (Hello, ACORN.) Would some mind-numbingly unqualified folks win the Public Service Lottery? Um, duh -- but what's the difference between that and the current system?

Could the loss of institutional memory be regretted, especially in the House of Representatives? Most probably. But, tinkering with the details could find a reasonable compromise to extend and rotate terms in the House, so let's not throw this idea out without trying it.

It's fun! It's a revenue generator! It's a regular fruit-basket turnover in D.C.!! It's Moogie's Revolutionary Plan for Public Service Reform in D.C.!

I've given you the bones -- now, hammer out the details.

It could work. And there would be no ads or robocalls! Someone needs to bust out some Petitions.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

In Other News: Porker Makes a Break

At the risk of eliciting bad jokes about the rather rural nature of my home state, I just had to share this video. It was taken this morning, during rush hour, on Interstate 30 inside the city. It seems that a hog, being transported from Point A to Point B escaped from his trailer. A police pursuit ensued:

Unfortunately for Porky, the fleet-of-foot, the end result probably wasn't exactly what he expected. I understand there's to be a rather big barbecue. . .

Central Arkansas Weather -- Not Our Friend Right Now

This is the weather map from WWL TV on the afternoon of May 8, a few moments ago.

Please keep the good people who were impacted by the April 27th tornado in your good thoughts. They don't need this.

They don't need this, especially after the Young President interrupted their recovery yesterday with his photo opp stop   en route to fund-raise in California. Talk about a traffic jam.

Sorry. I'm ambivalent about his visit -- it's probably a damned-if-you-go, damned-if-you-don't-go situation. I suppose the people of Vilonia took some comfort from his all-too-few words (in which he mentioned himself a goodly number of times, and explained to his tornado-victim audience how a tornado sounds. Seriously?) and his promise of federal aid. He didn't make stops in Mayflower or Ferndale, but talk radio says his helicopter flew over them as a windshield tour. I seem to recall George W taking some flak for doing that in Air Force 1 after Katrina.

I also might point out that this is Obama's first and only trip to Arkansas, ever. Talk about living in Presidential fly-over country.

Anyway, please keep Central Arkansas in your thoughts.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Rant Alert: Madison Avenue Elicits Moogie's Ire

Above is part of the front page of an advertising insert from Sunday's Demo-zette. It's for a new restaurant here in Little Rock, BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse.

The insert tickles the taste buds by featuring photos of pretty tasty looking food. It's colorful. It pictures a group of smiling people, of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities -- we can easily imagine that they're happy because they've just eaten a delicious meal and thrown back a couple of house-brewed beverages. It promotes BJ's online services. It promotes new menu items. It has everything you'd expect to prompt you to go to BJ's.

No. It doesn't.

This ad is representative of a recent trend in marketing that drives me stark-staring nuts. The consumer is forced to search the entire ad, including fine print, to find out where the dadgummed place is located!! In this particular case, the address of BJ's is nowhere to be found.

The web page address where you may order in advance of arriving is provided, but nowhere do they tell you where to arrive.

The web page address where you may pay anytime you're ready is provided, but nowhere do they tell you where you'll be served your food.

They warn you that "[consuming] raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness," but nowhere do they tell you where you might consume those potentially tainted foodstuffs.

No phone number.


I'm not a total Luddite. I obviously managed to locate BJ's website, and hence its address, by doing a simple Google search. That's not the problem.

Obviously, the ad served some of its purpose. I noticed all those things listed above about food and people and eye-catching colorfulness.  That's not the point.

The problem is that I, the paying customer, was inconvenienced. I had to make an effort to research a restaurant's location so I could picture where it is in my mind instead of just seeing it in the ad. That makes me be perfectly willing to skip BJ's for now and go instead to a restaurant that cares enough about its customers' comfort to tell the customer where its fare may be consumed. There are plenty of them out there.

Also, once I started glancing over the ad, I was sucked into it, now on a mission to find out where the freakin' place IS!

Take note, Marketeers: Moogie is not pleased with your current strategy. And that's the point.

Rant over. Have a nice afternoon.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Seis de mayo

Oops. I seem to have neglected Cinco de mayo in the blogosphere.

I might have been a day late and a dollar short in posting, but not in the eating department! I made some pretty spectacular Latin-ish food last night. This is a Blackened Shrimp Taco with a Buttermilk Avocado Herb Sauce (using cilantro and parsley from the garden) to kill for:

This is a pretty nifty Taco Casserole (made with ground turkey, lots of cheese, and my own taco seasoning blend that is never the same twice -- I don't like all the salt in commercial seasonings):


Plus, in preparation for this weekend's Mother's Day celebrations, there is this Mexican-themed message:

There were indeed moments. I think I'll have a martini instead. Feliz Seis de mayo!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Adventures in Suffrage

Being good citizens, Pepper and I registered to vote in Arkansas at the same time we got our new drivers' licenses last summer.

A month or so ago we received Address Confirmation Cards from the Orleans Parish Voter Registrar that had been forwarded from our old address at Moogie's Mansion in New Orleans.

We also received Address Confirmation Cards for Elder Daughter and Younger Daughter, using their maiden names. Daughters haven't lived in Louisiana since 2004, but Younger Daughter has been summoned to Jury Duty several times since she moved. Each time she has contacted the Registrar (as well as the summoning court) to tell them that she doesn't live and vote in New Orleans anymore so she won't be showing up for Jury Duty any time soon, thank you very much.

Anyway, Pepper and I decided to help out Registrar Sandra Wilson, PH.D., (her credentials, as noted on the form, in capital letters) by returning the Confirmation Cards, noting our new address, and writing in large letters, "Moved to Arkansas." In block letters, not even cursive. We assumed she would remove us from the Voter Registration Roster, posthaste.


Today, all four of us received another Address Confirmation Card from Ms. Wilson, Ph.D, requesting that we verify our address. The address we were asked to confirm inside the mailing was the old Moogie's Mansion address. The address on the outside of the mailing was our current address in Arkansas at the Manor.


In her epistle, Ms. Wilson, Ph.D., notes that, if we fail to return the card by December 10, 2016, we "may be removed from the voter registration list." MAY be removed. In 2016. After the next presidential election.

Theoretically, Moogie could vote for the next President both in Arkansas and Louisiana. Louisiana requires voters to show a government-issued photo ID before one may cast a ballot. (Arkansas' voter ID law has recently been declared unconstitutional and is under appeal at present.) Even though we now have Arkansas drivers' licenses, this requirement would not pose an impediment to voting in Louisiana for Moogie and Pepper as we both have retired military IDs bearing our smiling faces and no address.

Of course, we all know that Moogie and Pepper are beyond ethical, so we would never do something like that. I can't say that would hold true for every other "displaced" Louisiana voter, however. (There are special instructions for "involuntarily displaced" voters.)

I'd say that Ms. Wilson, Ph.D, might want to do a little training for her data entry folks.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Score Update: Free-Market Medical Care 1, Single-Payer System 0

Advocates of single-payer healthcare systems like they have in Canada argue that they are the way to go. There is never a problem with shortages of providers or long waits for treatment.

So, how come the loopy Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, hopped a plane to Chicago to enter rehab instead of checking into a facility in Canada?

It does give one pause.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Who Knew the Grim Reaper Had a Sense of Irony?

Let's chat a bit about Clayton Lockett.

You know -- the late Clayton Lockett who's reaping all kinds of misguided (and misplaced) sympathy because the drugs used to execute him didn't kill him quickly enough to satisfy death penalty opponents.

The late Clayton Lockett, career criminal.

The late Clayton Lockett who was convicted and sentenced to death by a jury for the torture, beating, rape, sodomy, burying alive, and murder of a 19 year-old young woman in Oklahoma -- a young victim who was selected at random during a crime spree Lockett launched shortly after he was released from prison.

The late Clayton Lockett who died of a heart attack some 43 minutes after he was sedated, and after writhing, twitching, and convulsing for quite some time while the Grim Reaper took a coffee break.

The Clayton Lockett whom doctors contemplated taking to the hospital shortly before he breathed his last. (Taking to the hospital?!?!)

The Clayton Lockett whom many claim suffered a "botched" execution.

That execution wasn't botched. Clayton Lockett died. In agony, as did his victim. Man may err, but God doesn't make mistakes.

And I believe it was probably the vengeful, Old Testament God who had a hand in Clayton Lockett's demise.

So, shall we chat about Clayton Lockett?

No. Let the trash in the landfill stay undisturbed.

I'm not a good enough Christian to feel any pity toward that animal. Nor to speak his name ever again.