By:  Pat Austin

The Shadows on the Teche. Now owned by The National Trust.

SHREVEPORT – I was traveling last week and because of that (and in honor of Pete’s 30-year anniversary!) I didn’t post.  Where was I?

We went to New Iberia, Louisiana to attend the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival.  We were there with people from at least twelve other states in the nation including Colorado, Michigan, Iowa, and Rhode Island as well as from several other countries.  The three-day event was filled with a variety of activities, seminars, discussion panels, bus tours, swamp tours, dinners, dance lessons, film screenings, an art show, a performance theater, bourrée lessons, and an authors and artisans fair. The great southern writer Ernest Gaines was there and read from his latest book which was awesome. It wasn’t possible to do everything, but we tried.

I wrote about the festival on my own blog and there was so much I had to split it into two posts.

And that didn’t allow us much time to take advantage of the other great tourist attractions in the area like the Tabasco Factory tour (we did that), Jungle Gardens (did that), Jefferson Island, the Conrad Rice Mill tour, and branching out from that, the surrounding communities are filled with history and things to see, like St. Martinville, St. Francisville, Loreauville, etc.  And yes, New Orleans is not that far away, nor is Baton Rouge.  Those places are already well-known for their tourist attractions.

But New Iberia has stolen my heart.  We hear a lot in this part of the country (I’m in northwest Louisiana) about southern hospitality, but New Iberia takes it to a new level.  New Iberia isn’t known for being a tourist town in the way Natchitoches is, for example.  But it should be.

Why? There was one point in the evening on our last night there that I decided that if I ever lost faith in humanity, or got frustrated with life, I just need to come to New Iberia because there is such a true joie de vivre in everyone’s face it makes you happy just to be there. It’s in their daily interactions, in their lives, it restores your faith in people. Plus, it’s just beautiful country.

Bayou Teche runs 135-miles through the area; ancient live oaks hug the banks and are literally dripping with Spanish moss.  The land is often flat and you see sugar cane fields, crawfish farms, and flooded rice fields.  The air smells like salt blowing in from the Gulf and the sky turns a bruised purple in the evening when the sun begins to sink into the west. We danced under the stars to cajun fiddle players and zydeco bands; we ate alligator, catfish, boudin, maque choux, etoufee, gumbo, and shrimp. What’s not to love?

We didn’t know one soul when we arrived and when we left I felt like I have a whole new cadre of friends.  One couple we met told us that when we come back we are more than welcome to stay with them. “We have an extra bedroom!” she said.  And she meant it.

Everyone we talked to, from the shopkeepers, convenience store clerks, waitresses, residents, everyone, truly engages with you when they talk to you.  It’s not just, “Oh how are you doing, glad you’re here,” kind a thing and move on.  They look you in the eye, listen to you, ask questions, engage.  They remember.  And they dance, they laugh, they love, they share wide open.

In the end, the book festival was just lagniappe to the true treasures of New Iberia.

If you’re planning to hit the road this spring or summer, consider a trip to south Louisiana.  New Iberia is easy to get to; it’s just south of Lafayette.  I know I’ll be back many, many times.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.  Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25.

By:  Pat Austin

Shadows on the Teche plantation, New Iberia

SHREVEPORT —   As Zilla noted, the Boss is at CPAC and is covering all things politics, so I’m going to veer away from politics today. Living in Louisiana with a special legislative session underway, there is no shortage of political topics here, but while our legislators wreck our budget and cut funding to higher education and the other likely targets, I’m going to digress and talk about one of the positive reasons to live in Louisiana.

We have a lot of festivals!  We love to eat and to have fun!  Louisiana is absolutely beautiful in the spring!  Put all that together and we have the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival in April!  Books and literary festivals are right up my alley: I love them!  I love book bazaars, book festivals, book fairs, the whole thing.

How perfect is this event?!  It will be in New Iberia in the spring which is in south Louisiana, below Lafayette. The festival is named for local son James Lee Burke who set his Dave Robicheaux series in New Iberia.  I’ve been a fan of his Dave Robicheaux character for years.  In fact, that’s one of the things that drew me to Michael Henry’s books; his Willie Mitchell character reminded me a lot of Dave Robicheaux.

Nearly every event at Books Along the Teche looks enticing.  On Friday, April 6, the festival starts at 9 a.m. with a food tasting and everyone knows Louisiana food is fantastic and Louisiana cooks reign.  In the afternoon there is lunch at Dave Robicheaux’s favorite cafeteria and then a tour of Iberia parish featuring Dave’s “haunts and jaunts.”

Louisiana author Ernest Gaines will be the featured guest this year and on Saturday afternoon he will lead a reading and then host a question and answer session.  Gaines is the author of A Lesson Before Dying and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, among many other works.  The film adaptation of Miss Jane Pittman will be featured in a free screening Friday afternoon.  Now, how cool would it be to meet Ernest Gaines!

What is also at the top of my list is the Jazz it Up opening reception Friday night featuring a Cochon de Lait and a jazz band but best of all it will be held at Shadows on the Teche, the plantation home of Weeks Hall who was a friend of Lyle Saxon and a fascinating character!  A visit to this plantation is on my bucket list.

Shadows-on-the-Teche was the home of the Weeks family. Construction began in 1831 and was completed 1834 for David Weeks and his wife, Mary Clara Conrad Weeks.  According to Richard Lewis, curator of visual arts at the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans, the land was granted to Weeks’s father, William,  in 1792 through a Spanish land grant.  William continued to purchase property throughout the area and eventually accumulated over 2,000 acres.

David Weeks and his father grew some cotton but focused primarily on sugar cane in the early 1820s. William retained carpenter James Bedell and mason Jeremiah Clark to build the Shadows but he died before the house was completed. When his widow remarried, she kept her property separate from that of her second husband. When she died the plantation passed to her son, William F. Weeks who died in 1895; then it passed to his daughters, one of whom was Lily Weeks Hall.  She died in 1918 and her son, William Weeks Hall returned to the plantation from Paris.  He acquired all family shares and at the age of 25 became the sole owner of the plantation.

Weeks Hall spent the rest of his life restoring the plantation to its original grandeur.  He used family papers and a complete set of construction records to achieve this, according to Richard Lewis in his book, Robert W. Tebbs: Photographer to Architects.  Architects Richard Koch (1889-1971) and Charles R. Armstrong (d. 1947) were retained to restore the home “to its 1830s appearance.”  When Weeks Hall died in 1959 he bequeathed the home to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Koch and Samuel Wilson, Jr. did restoration work for the National Trust in 1961 and since then the gardens have also been restored.

The festival will also feature an Academic Symposium in which Professor of English at University of Lafayette, Dr. Mary Ann Wilson will present Ode to a Lost World: James Lee Burke’s Tin Roof Blowdown. She says “the title works on many levels as will my presentation pointing out the deeply moral vision of Burke as he confronts the trauma and tragedy of environmental and human disasters like Katrina all the while telling a crackerjack detective story.”

If I’m feeling brave I might even join in on the Bouree lessons, but I know from experience that playing Bouree with a bunch of Cajuns can be a risky proposition!

But seriously, If I were dreaming up the perfect festival, this would be it.

New Iberia is beautiful all of the time but especially so in the spring.  This could not be a more perfect trip and a perfect escape from winter.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport. Follow on Instagram @patbecker25.

By John Ruberry

Last night I ended another binge-watching venture, this time it was Ozark, a Netflix original series starring Jason Bateman. Season one, consisting of ten episodes, was released in July and Ozark has already been renewed for a second run.

Marty Byrde (Bateman) is a financial planner who makes a deal with the devil, actually a Mexican drug cartel, to launder its cash. So, Byrde quietly toils away and the cartel graciously thanks him for his efforts and all is well?

Uh, no.

Byrde and his wife Wendy (Laura Linney) are the typical smug Chicago area couple who I interact with regularly. Wendy is proud of her political activism, she even worked on Barack Obama’s state Senate campaigns, although it’s difficult to say why she was needed as Obama ran unopposed in all three of his Democratic primary races and the district he represented was far more Democratic than Wyoming is Republican. Perhaps Wendy was the scoundrel behind knocking all of Obama’s primary opponents off of the ballot. If so, it fits her character. Interestingly, there is an early scene of Marty inspecting office space Chicago’s Trump Tower.

Bryde’s handler, Camino Del Rio (Esai Morales), discovers $8 million in cartel cash is missing. After Byrde’s co-workers are well, liquidated, in an act of desperation Byrde convinces “Del” that Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, which has “more coastline than the state of California,” is a far better place than Chicago to launder his dirty money because it’s not crawling with federal agents.

So seemingly quicker than it takes me to check out of a hotel room the Byrdes and their children, 15-year-old Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) do a reverse-Beverly Hillbillies and relocate to the Lake of the Ozarks, one of several places in America known as a Redneck Riviera.

The Byrdes nearly immediately confront a family of small-time criminals, the Langmores, who live in–wait for it–run-down trailers. They are raising two bobcats. Just inside the door of one of the trailers is a a poster of a topless woman.

And like Brewster in the several Brewster’s Millions movies, Marty finds that quickly spending millions, or laundering it, is harder than he thought it would be, particularly in the rural location he chose. An even greater challenge for the Byrdes is a mysterious family of big-time criminals we meet later on. For comic relief, mostly, is the dying old man who lives in their basement–he is convinced Obama is a Muslim.

Even before the move the Byrde’s marriage is on the rocks–and the tension of a disintegrating family operating an illegal enterprise is reminiscent of Breaking Bad. The graphic violence is reminiscent of Sons of Anarchy. And while no genitalia is shown, the sex scenes are also quite graphic. So this family drama is by no means appropriate family viewing. Jason Bateman has come along way since his NBC sitcom Silver Spoons.

Blogger outside Chicago’s Trump Tower

I don’t expect there to be a tourist boom to Lake of the Ozarks because of the show, as the redneck cliches and the rampant lawlessness of Ozark will serve as a definite buzz-kill for travel-minded families. The Northwoods region’s vacation dollars are secure. Although outside of a few scenes in downtown Chicago, most of the show is filmed in a reservoir area in northern Georgia. And some of the Chicago scenes are laughably wrong–where do all of these hills come from? And there are no hills in Morris, Illinois either–a wonderful town I’ve visited many times, by the way. Here’s another inconsistency: The Byrdes’ suburban home was in Naperville. So why does their Honda Odyssey have an expensive Chicago vehicle sticker? An astute financial planner wouldn’t waste $136 on a useless decal.

Yes, I’ll be back for the next season. By then end of that one Ozark may have shed the shadow of Breaking Bad.

John Ruberry regularly blogs in the Chicago area at Marathon Pundit.

By:  Pat Austin

MIAMI, OK:  As I mentioned last week, we are on the road this week and as of this writing find ourselves on Route 66 in Miami, OK.

One of our travel stops today was pretty fabulous and worth sharing with you. It may never have crossed your mind that a 311 foot, Balao class submarine could be found in the middle of Oklahoma, but sure enough, that’s where you can find the USS Batfish at the War Memorial Park in Muskogee.

The sub is open to the public and is lovingly tended and kept in tip-top shape through private donations; the state of Oklahoma doesn’t fund the project (and therefore there is no sign on the turnpike or highways alerting tourists to the park).

The Batfish was commissioned in 1942 and was in service for 26 years and is known primarily “for the remarkable feat of sinking three Imperial Japanese Navy submarines in a 76-hour period, in February 1945.”

The sub sits now in a depressed area of a large field at the War Memorial Park in a shallow basin of water. After touring the museum, visitors then can walk outside and go aboard the sub. The first thing that hits you is the smell of the oil and machinery of the sub, but once you descend the ladder into the Batfish, you can see the torpedo holds, banks of brass gauges, dials, and levers; you can see the bunks where the crew rotated sleep shifts, the officer and the enlisted mess, a couple of office areas, and all along the tour are either guides or video monitors with information.

If I lived closer to Muskogee, I’d take part in some of the cool events that the park offers like Bands on the Batfish, or the overnight stays that they do to raise funds to support this fascinating piece of history.

What impressed my husband almost as much as the USS Batfish was the large section of the mast of the USS Oklahoma which was destroyed at Pearl Harbor.  It was sobering to stand next to that mast and realize its role in history.

Read more about the USS Batfish here, and about the park that has given her a home here. And if you find yourself in Oklahoma, go by and see it. If you want to donate to the upkeep and maintenance of the sub, go here. The park goes beyond just preserving the submarine, but also works to educate young people and to bring history alive.

For me, it was fascinating to walk through the submarine and think about the masterful engineering involved in putting so much equipment in such a small space.  It is well worth the trip.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT —  It’s officially summertime and many of us are looking toward to vacations and hitting the great open road to discover America, or other parts of the world.

For us, we head to the Midwest. There’s some truth in the old adage about the grass being greener, and all that; the living is always better where you aren’t.

Every summer we travel to Iowa. Now I know there are some people in Iowa wondering why in the devil dog would anyone want to come to Iowa, but we love it. My husband’s family is there but it’s not just that. It’s the road trip along the way. We take the backroads whenever we can and avoid interstates.

One year we left for the Midwest from the Dallas area after attending my grandson’s birthday and we ended up on Route 66 in Oklahoma which we rode out as far as we could, stopping to see all the cool Americana, road stops, signage, that we could. It was one of our more memorable trips.

To me, it’s the things you discover by accident as you roam, it’s not having a fixed plan or a rigid time schedule. When I was a child my father would throw us in the car and we’d head for the beach, but there would be only one stop along the entire fourteen hour trip. Maybe two. And they were fast. Get it and go.  Now I prefer to take things slower.

We love the Midwest, especially around the Fourth of July holiday because truly that’s where the heart of America can be found. The small town parades are the best.  In Shreveport, where we live, the Fourth is celebrated with a huge fireworks extravaganza and massive crowds, traffic jams, in the hot, humid Louisiana night. Give me the small town tractor parades any day.

Maybe it doesn’t matter where you go, just that you go. Sometimes we all need to get away and recharge our batteries, have some real down time.  What I’ll be doing next week is sitting in my sister-in-law’s backyard in the evenings while kids roast hotdogs over a fire pit, watching fireflies light up the dark corners of the yard…in the morning the tornado siren will go off at 7 a.m. for it’s daily test (and again at noon). The Amish buggies will clap down the streets and at the Sale Barn down the road the farmers that fill up America’s bread baskets will meet to solve the world’s problems over eggs and coffee. We will drive up to my husband’s family’s generational farm, breathing in gravel dust from the road as we traverse some of the prettiest rolling hills I’ve ever seen.

The biggest decision I will have to make all day is if we want to drive to the WalMart in the next county to pick up a few things.

The people are nice, friendly, and as down to earth as you’ll find anywhere. They want to know where you’re from, who your people are, and they’ll wish you a nice stay.

“Iowa?  You’re going to Iowa?”

Yes, I am, and I can’t wait.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

KANSAS CITY, MO —  We are on the road and so the weekly Report from Louisiana is this week, Report from Somewhere in the Midwest.   It does one good to get out of customary surroundings from time to time and see things.

My spouse does the driving and I peer out the windows at old buildings, cows, dried up little towns, and all too often construction cones.  This is always more interesting if you’re off the interstate but ours is a quick trip home to see family before a calendar full of obligations back home kick in in a couple of weeks, so we are travelling crowded interstate this trip.

Can we just talk for a moment about how many people are texting and driving 75 mph through the heartland?  As a passenger, I have the luxury of being able to look at other drivers, which I especially make a point to do if they are driving unusually slow in a 75 mph zone or weaving all over the lane.  More often than not, there’s a cell phone involved.

The statistics are frightening.  According to the National Safety Council, in 2013 a minimum of 341,000 crashes involved texting and driving.  That’s 26% of crashes due to texting.  Thirty-three percent of drivers surveyed admitting to texting and driving often.

I’m not talking about while sitting at a red light, mind you.  I was hurtling down the interstate all day long today passing one car after another with cell phone aloft as the driver was either reading or typing a text.

Please stop.

As families head out in their SUVs and head to grandmas, the beach, the mountains, wherever, please keep your cell phone stowed away until you get to a rest stop.

I firmly believe that penalties for drivers who cause an accident (if they survive) due to texting and driving should face the same penalties as drunk drivers.  They are both incredibly dangerous.  The general public widely supports stiffer penalties  yet so far nothing much as been done on that front (with the exception of Alaska who reduced penalties).

Perhaps we could just govern ourselves on this one, eh?

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

by baldilocks

I spent two days at my father’s ancestral lands in Manyatta, Awendo–no Internet–on which his permanent house is being built. Judging from the time it takes to get back and forth from Nairobi by car, I had originally though this land was 400-500 miles away from the capital, but I’m used to interstate highways. Slightly less than 300 miles takes longer on two-lane paved roads and the occasional bumpy, dirt road. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Father and his wife live in Rongai, but Manyatta is his birthplace and the place to which he will eventually retire and be buried, like his parents and several other relatives. We went to Manyatta because also on the land is the home of my only brother, Charles, and his wife, Lillian. Surround that parcel of land are other parcels belonging to various members of the Otani-Ochieng clan. The land originally belonged to my father’s father, Nicanor Otani[1], and his brothers.

It’s weird for this American to know that there are ancestral lands for my family. But my life has been a half-century of weirdness.

There are two large gates to the land, one for Father and one for my brother. There is electricity in but it’s spotty; we spent several long time periods having our faces lit by oil lamps and flashlights. There is no central plumbing or gas yet, but there is a well and family cooking is done the old-fashioned way.

Fresh Water
Fresh Water
Cooking without gas
Cooking without gas

I think my bro could teach American preppers a thing or two. He also has chickens and cows, but it seems to me that no self-respecting Kenyan man-of-the-land is without at least four cows. I saw so many herds while on the road that I will be thinking about steaks for a month.

Aside from a night during which my intestinal tract reminded me that, no, Toto, we are not in California anymore, the time was fascinating and heart-warming, if a bit bewildering. The day before I returned to Nairobi, all local family and friends gathered to meet me, honor me, and welcome me home.

More photos from Manyatta here and here.

[1] Among the Luo, it’s not customary to take the last name of one’s father. Each kid gets his/her own last name. The name is determined by the conditions under which the child is born, i.e. morning, noon, night, raining, etc. The last name also varies in the spelling with regard to gender: girls’ last names begin with A, boys’ with O. With Western and Islamic influences, many Kenyans use their fathers’ last names, but some still don’t. However, even those who use the European system of naming still have a “middle” name; more accurately, a surname and a patronymic.

CharlesO
My brother. This was the first time we had met in person. Ever.

Since I was born in the US, I was given my father’s last name, but I have my own surname: Akinyi. It’s permissible to call me by this name alone, but in my family, it can get confusing. One of my sisters has the same surname.

And Luo have taken their own spin on the name game. My brother’s name is Charles Otieno Ochieng and his oldest son is named after his grandfather: Philip Ochieng Otieno, Jr. Of course, everyone calls him Junior. Between the surname and the patronymic is the unspoken “son of/daughter of.”

OH. ONE MORE THING:

I leave for home tomorrow. Final trip log(s) will be here or at baldilocks on Tuesday at the latest, assuming I’m awake by then.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: Her Kenya Trip Expenses, Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

baldilocks

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While Baldilocks is in Kenya I’ve had a busy day. After mass moved furniture for DaSon #1 moving out Covered the Governor making an appearance in a local race (That will go up tomorrow) and did some legwork for a local pro-life republican, didn’t get a chance to get our email blast out till 6:30 which likely explains why for the first time in a while we’ve seen a day when our DaTipjar and our $61 a day goal hasn’t moved a bit. We’re already behind 20 days for our annual goal and with the layoff I’d hate to see it our backlog expand so if you are both able and inclined I’d really appreciate it if you’d help us close that gap by hitting DaTipJar.

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by baldilocks

Nairobi, Kenya 2/24/2016 12:00 AM:

This post is mostly a stream of consciousness and mostly an excuse to post a few photos. The bulk of the really good photos will be posted on Saturday, for reasons specified below.

I arrived here on Monday at 8:00 PM, Kenya time, and slept great that night in a queen-sized Hilton Nairobi bed, but jet lag still hit me hard on Tuesday afternoon. My Kenyan parents have extremely comfortable couches.

Nairobi traffic is a vision of Hell. My young nephew-in-law, Samson, got out of the taxi and put his body on the line for the second photo.NairobiTraffic (1) NairobiTraffic (4)

My father lives in Rongai. He is small-statured, slim, and upright in bearing. I’m slightly taller than he is, but that’s probably due to his age. (I’ve noticed that my American parents are shrinking too.)  I’m much taller than my three Kenya sisters because my mother is tall.

JulietteandPhilipOchieng (2)

Father cares for his wife, Miss Jennifer, with the help of my sisters Lucy Adhiambo and Judith Aluoch. (Another Kenyan sister, Janet Akinyi, lives in Texas.) As a result of several diabetic strokes, Miss Jennifer is an invalid. Having taken care of my great-aunt in her last years, I empathize greatly.

Nairobi has an old crumbling feeling. The people, however, are the opposite. Young, hard-working, friendly and incredibly handsome. And I don’t just say that because I look like them. I’m just as grateful for my American heritage as of the African, but because of the former, I missed out on the smooth, blemish-free skin. And it has only been since reaching my 50s that the battle of the zits has been won. Mostly.

As far as I’ve seen, if there are morbidly obese people here, they don’t come out in public. Most everyone seems slim and graceful. I flew in on the Dutch carrier, KLM Airlines, and noticed that middle-aged Dutch people are mostly in good shape, too, not to mention really tall. O-beasts must be an American thing.

Ochieng House (1)
Ochieng House in Rongai

I was introduced to one of my two grand-nephews, Kyle, four months old.

Juliette and Kyle (5)

Tomorrow, I get to meet Nigel, two-years-old and one of the two stars of my Facebook page–the other being my American nephew, Jacob, also two. I guess there are three stars now!

My father and I were interviewed yesterday by a KTN reporter named Wilkester Nyabwa—a lovely young lady–for a human interest piece on our reunification. It will run on Saturday, Friday in the USA. I feel a tad bit like…not an imposter…but unworthy of all the hullaballoo made here in Kenya about my visit. I’ve long known that my father was famous on this continent, but felt removed from it. Not anymore. Fame makes a man think things over, to misquote a recently deceased philosopher.

Oh and my father and I exchanged copies of our books. That was really cool!

Ochieng Books (3)

For the next two days, my family and I will be away from Nairobi and out in our ancestral province. So I will be away from all things Internet, but it will be the opportunity for the best photos! Yes, I’m taking my anti-malarial meds and have my insect repellent handy.

My family members are all sweet, kind and funny. They all speak English, with Kenya having been a British colony, but I don’t yet have an ear for their accents and I did notice that, sometimes, my B-Girl/Valley Girl twang goes by them as well. It’s fun.

Everyone here tells me welcome home. Well, America is my home and always will be. But it’s nice to have two homes…and two wonderful families. Of course, it’s really just one big family.

To be continued on Saturday.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: Her Kenya Trip Expenses, Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

baldilocks

I spoke to a young lady from the Israel Tourism Ministry Catholic Marketing Trade show

If you’re looking to find a large crowd of people who have an interest in going to the Holy Land the Catholic Marketing Trade Show is the place to find them.

You can find the web site of Israel’s ministry of Tourism here. Their facebook site is here Their twitter feed is here.

I’ve never been to Israel, Someday when DaTipJar is carrying the load perhaps I’ll go.

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All of what is done here is only made possible by you.

My goal for 2015 is Twenty Two grand which will give me a nominal living doing this.

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That gets all the bills paid. (including my writers like Fausta)  If I can get to Forty Thousand I can afford to travel outside of New England and/or hire me a blogger to help me get it done.

Consider Subscribing 100 Subscribers at $20 a month will get the job done and then some.

Our July Premium for tip jar hitters of $50 or more is Elizabeth The Anchoress Scalia Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life

Subscribe at $50 or more in and receive each monthly premium shipped the date of your payment.

All Tip Jar hits of $10 or more will get a copy of Jeff Trapani’s excellent E-Book Victor the Monster Frankenstein.

By John Ruberry

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and besides the game, another story is the plethora of Super Bowl commercials.

Yes, kickoff is hours from now, and the advertisement I’m excoriating will air on only on Fox 32 Chicago, but I’m confident that by 9pm Central Time, Mini Abe’s Spontaneous Somewhat Super Premiere, produced by the tourism office of the Illinois Department of Commerce, will be the worst commercial I’ll see.

It ends with Mini Abe, a plastic version of Illinois icon Abraham Lincoln, getting crushed by a football.

Taxpayers shelled out $127,500 for this ad.

Look out below:

What the heck was that?

Well, I’ll try to explain.

Today’s ad is a reworking of Mini Abe’s Spontaneous Fall. It was creepy then and it is creepy now.

illinois route 66
Where is Abe?

And it’s an ineffective messenger for Illinois tourism sites–the only locations I could identify in the commercial were the Willis (Sears) Tower, Pontiac and Route 66, the Chicagoland Speedway, and (I think) the Mississippi River.

But if I wanted to ride on a Zip Line with Mini Abe, where in Illinois would I do that? Mini Abe doesn’t say.

Things are not well in the Land of Lincoln.

Illinois taxpayers are burdened by $7 billion in unpaid bills and over $100 billion in pension debt. I wonder if Fox 32 demanded that $127,500 up front?

And to those people who’ll say, ‘well, the commercial only costs a bit more than $100,000,’ I offer this retort, a paraphrase of a famous comment possibly made by Everett Dirksen, Illinois’ greatest senator:

A hundred thousand dollars here, and a hundred thousand dollars there, and pretty soon we’re talking real money.

Besides corruption, Illinois government is good at only one other thing–wasting money.

As for Lincoln, first he gets shot, now he has to suffer from this Super Bowl indignity.

Update DTG:  Stacy McCain links.  I find myself wondering how connected this ad agency is.  FYI if you are a social conservative find out how to solve the AIDS crisis in a few easy steps and discover why the Dana Loesch & the Woody Allen Story are the same story.

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s a brand new week and month. The days of wine and roses and having the mortgage paid a full week before it’s due is over.

Instead we are once again starting a new short month and unfortunately while it has 2-3 less days than any other the Mortgage bill is the same as any other.

So once again we have a $345 weekly goal to secure the cost of the mortgage and the payday for DaMagnificent Seven.

That means I need 17 of you to kick in $20 this week to get our monthly goals started on the right track.

Be part of another year of success, Hit DaTipJar below.

Only 55 3/4 more subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis. If you think blogs like this willing to highlight the double standard of the Democrats & media online & on radio are worth it, please consider subscribing and suggesting a friend do so as well.