Monday, September 29, 2008

The Bailout on the Bailout

If you didn't catch the news this morning, here's all you need to know:

There was no bailout.

For those of you who were against the bailout (of which I am one), don't dance your Irish jig yet. Many of the members of the House of Representatives who did not vote for the bailout only voted that way due to fears of not being re-elected in five weeks. After the election in November, those Congressman may have a change of heart.

Of course, the entire question of a $700 billion bailout is put into perspective when you consider that we have a $10 trillion public debt, and a $60 trillion debt if you include Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

But since the current bailout has failed, I hereby propose a new bailout:

Instead of spending $700 billion in taxpayer money, just give me $100 billion and a round trip ticket for 3 to Las Vegas, and I'll play Craps for an hour.

Seriously, the bailout was going to have about the same odds of fixing the economy as a rousing game of Craps. Why not let me be the guy to bring us through this crisis?

And if I crap out (which will symbolically mean the economy is in the crapper), you can say that the economy has been "Tanory'd" - which will mean it lost a lot of money, but still managed to save taxpayers $600 billion.

And if I win, I'll take whatever share the casino is currently taking for Pai Gow. Hey, fair is fair!

Every American has a duty. Playing Craps is mine.

Oh, and just for full disclosure, I will be playing the Hard Six, because that's how I roll! Deal with it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Catapults and Parachutes

My dad and I went to the LSU vs. Mississippi State game at Tiger Stadium yesterday. We didn't want to fight the traffic so we parked at the casino and took the bus.

In the past, the bus service had a police escort so the bus never had to fight Game Day traffic. Not so this year. Not only did we sit in traffic for 30 minutes, but we had no air conditioning. So basically we paid the casino $15 per ticket for crappy service and to wait in line with everyone else.

The casino always wins. Remember that, kids.

But our night got exponentially better once we were in Tiger Stadium. And possibly the best moment of the entire evening was the flyover after the National Anthem.



That flyover got me thinking....

What if there was a way to get to Tiger Stadium without having to drive there, or take the bus, or even walk?

We could! All we'd need are catapults and parachutes.

Here's how it would work: fans with tickets would meet up at designated locations. Let's say one of these locations is the casino. A "Catapult Staff Member" would secure you and your family together into a large pod, hop in himself, then lock the door. Another Catapult Staff Member would cut the rope that was previously securing a large catapult. The catapult would spring into action, and you and your family would soar above Baton Rouge.

Once your pod hits its highest point and starts to descend, the Catapult Staff Member in your pod would release one or more parachutes. Your pod would float gently to the ground, landing on a large rubber mat at a predetermined location.

That's just my plan for the first generation of catapult services. The second generation involves parachuting people directly to their seats.

It never rains in Tiger Stadium. Now if we could just somehow control the wind and visibility around Tiger Stadium, we can "launch" our catapult campaign.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cheerleaders Key to Victory

You were all witnesses to my spectacular win over my family in this year's Emmy Awards throw-down. But what you might not know is that I am not only an Emmy savant, but am also a college football savant as well.

My success at betting on college football games is attributed to my unique method of selecting which team will win.

You see, most people who bet on college football research all of the wrong things. For instance, one might research a team's past performance throughout the season, or even across several seasons. Research could also be done into which players are hurt and how that will affect their performances. Other people I know just bet on whatever Vegas says to bet on. Then there are people who rely on stats, sports analysis, the quality of the coach and the ranking in the national polls.

But all of these methods are useless. If you really want to win when betting on college football, do what I do:

Bet on whoever has the hottest cheerleaders.

Cheerleaders are an integral part of the college football experience. They lead the crowd in cheers (obviously), do flips and somersaults, and generally give the crowd something to look at during the 40 seconds between each play.

And let's face it: nobody gets revved up by an ugly cheerleader.

And any woman hot enough to be a cheerleader for a BCS team is probably looking to skate through life on her good looks. That means she needs to marry someone who will make a lot of money. And what better person than a professional football player? And what better place to meet a future hall-of-famer than when he's playing college football?

Therefore, by the transitive property, whichever team has the hottest cheerleaders also has the more talented team. Because a hot cheerleader isn't going to lead the cheers for any losers.

Hey, I could have told you USC would lose to Oregon State on Thursday. I'd have picked the Beavers over the Song Girls any day!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ode to Bob, by Betty

Bob & Becca tied the Emmy 2008 Competition with nine votes and I came in a near second with eight votes. Gransy and Papa Cheech tied for dead last with six points so they were the actual losers.

Anyway, I promised Bob a blog about how great that he is but he technically only gets half of a blog since he only won half of the competition. Annie decided that she would help me write the blog too since she had lots to say about how great her DaDa is.

[Picture: Anne writing a blog about her DaDa]

Annie blogged, "DaDa I love you very much! You are such a nice fluffy pillow to sleep on and I like how you rock me to sleep every night. I think you are pretty handsome too. I guess I have to say this since I look just like you! DaDa you are the best DaDa in the world but I wish you would stop blogging about my untimely explosions. I am just a little baby girl and I just can’t help it. Since you only beat Mommy by one point in the Emmy competition, I still think that you should give Mommy a nap! I love you DaDa!"

[Picture: Anne updating her Anne of the Day website]

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Emmy Results

I'm happy to say that I crushed my family in our annual Emmy contest.

Technically, my sister tied my high score, so I guess I should share this honor with her. Therefore...

I'd like to accept this honor alongside my sister, and would like to thank my beautiful wife, Betty... my Princess Baby, Anne... and the rest of my family (excluding my sister) for failing to select the correct nominees when filling out their Emmy ballots.

Upon submitting her Emmy picks, my sister requested that her prize be that she gets first dibs on holding Anne at every family function for the next year. But since my sister did not outright win our Emmy contest, I can only guarantee her that she'll be the first person to hold Anne half the time. The other half of the time she'll have to bribe us, just like everybody else.

As for me, my prize request was that my wife write a blog post about how great I am. My plan was that, if my wife ever plans to divorce me, I can give the judge the URL of the blog post and say, "See, she thought I was great at the time!" But Betty says she'll only write half of a blog post since I tied and did not win outright, and also that I'll have to help out around the house more so that she'll have time to write her blog.

Seeing that my prize is actually going to cost me my leisure time, I hereby redact my original request. My new prize will be to spend more time with my wife and daughter. And gloat about my winning for the next year.

The Oscars are on February 22nd. Family, I suggest you get those Netflix queues ready.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Emmys 2008

My family bets on everything - cards, sports, which line will move fastest at the grocery store... you name it, we bet on it.

Luckily for us, the 2008 Emmy Awards are on Sunday, and that gives us something to bet on. Keeping with the Tanory tradition, we will cast ballots and tally up points, and the results will be announced on Monday.

The winner gets to name his or her own prize, while the losers will be mercilessly vilified.

For my part, if I lose, I will write a blog about the victor, using the plot and characters of one of the Emmy nominees as my theme. If I win, I will declare myself King of the Tanory Clan for yet another year.

This bet isn't just open to the Tanory fam. If you want to play, and I encourage you to, here's all you need to do:

1. Download and/or print an official scorecard.

2. Fill it out in some form or another.

3. Let me know what your selections are, either by email, phone, or a comment on the blog.

4. Name whatever prize you'd like to win, if you do in fact win.

5. Check back on Monday for the results.

Good luck!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Parenting 101

Being a parent is hard work! You've got to work nights... weekends! Sometimes even all day Sunday!

But there's nothing better than being a parent... other than being a parent while eating pizza and drinking a cream soda. But being a parent is an integral part of that awesomeness trifecta.

Being a parent is one of those things that cannot be described; it has to be lived. Nobody is a good enough writer - surely I am not - to articulate what it feels like to be a parent.

Once you're a parent, what used to be HUGE is now small. Beating that Metallica song on Guitar Hero III? Yeah, that used to rule my life. Now, I rock out to "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on my daughter's musical turtle toy, and that takes way much more skill. (Although it would be even cooler if the turtle was shaped like a guitar. I'm just saying....)

And small things, like rolling over from the belly to the back, are suddenly huge milestones. Even mundane things, like a jar of carrots, can either be endlessly entertaining - such as when watching my daughter eat and/or raspberry mushed carrots across the floor - or invoke fear, such as when they pass through my daughter's system and turn her diaper into a scene out of Dawn of the Dead.

Every day is filled with awe, by both the child and the parents, as your child laughs, cries, and becomes self-aware. Even when my daughter frowns, it's so friggin cute that sometimes I don't want to make her happy. Case in point:

[Anne's patented frown]

I've only been a parent for just under six months, and I can't imagine life without my daughter. Whatever I did before she was born was apparently not important enough for me to remember. Either that or my sleep deprivation is getting to me.

And since I know how much fun being a parent can be, it's with great pleasure that I take this opportunity to congratulate our good friends Kim and Chris on their baby girl, Lilly. I hope you have as much fun being parents as we've had so far!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Now That is Love

While stopped at a red light on my home from work today, two love bugs landed on my windshield. And in typical love bug fashion, they were joined at the butt.

Sinners.

I momentarily thought about turning on my wipers, but decided against smearing that hard-to-remove love bug goo all over my windshield. Instead I just decided to floor it as soon as the light turned green and see if I could shake'm off.

Both bugs held on as my car slowly accelerated. But once I hit 65 mph, only one was still holding onto the windshield; the other lost its grip and started flapping in the air. And the only thing keeping that one on my windshield was the strength and endurance of the other bug's genitals.

Now that is love!

I don't know how much force a love bug's genitals can withstand, but after a minute or so of me driving 65 mph, the love bug holding onto the windshield finally decided to call it a day.

I bet those two are going to be sore in the morning!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Mais Cher!

If I could describe Lafayette in one word, it would be "cher" - pronounced here in Cajun Country as "sha."

Nobody in Baton Rouge uses the word "cher" unless they're from the Acadiana area. Most of the Baton Rougeans I know don't even know what it means. (FYI, it's French for "dear.") When I meet someone for the first time, I instantly know if I can trust them if they use "cher" in a sentence.

But everybody in Lafayette uses "cher" all the time - seriously, it's used a ridiculous amount. A baby is "cher," a dog is "cher," and your kid brother is probably "cher" too.

To Cajuns, "cher" is a noun, adjective, adverb, pronoun, article, dangling participle - it's whatever you want it to be, and is therefore the most useful word in all of the Cajun language.

Examples:

Noun: Mais dat baby is a little cher!
Adjective: Who da father of dat cher bébé?
Adverb: Dat baby look cherly happy to me.
Verb: My lips is chap chapped. I need some Carmex or something to make dem cher better.

And I can't help but use "cher" along with my fake Cajun accent whenever I'm home. I love it! It makes me nostalgic for some Pizza Village pizza, Veron's miniature sausages, and Adrien's french bread. Cher dat french bread!

Unfortunately, my wife doesn't think "cher" is very "cher." Or maybe it's that I'm just saying it way too much. Either way, she's about to hog tie me, throw me in a pirogue, dump me into a bayou and feed me to the alligators. Ay yie yie!

Mais, I can only hope dat dem alligators are cher!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Power to the People

My house finally has electricity again. Three cheers for all the utility workers in the greater Baton Rouge area!

(And let's give my parents a moment to digest the news that their granddaughter will soon be leaving their house.)

It's been great being at my parents' house. It feels just like old times: waking up at the butt crack of noon, my mom having breakfast/lunch/brunch ready, my dad giving sage advice on the best way to bluff your opponent in a high stakes poker tournament.... If I didn't have to go home to a yard full of tree branches and shingles, this trip might have counted as a vacation.

I will definitely miss it.

Of course, I probably won't be gone too long. Hurricane Ike is just around the corner, and it just might make Louisiana its Tina Turner and knock all our lights out. Again.

If that happens, we'll be back in Lafayette, where the comfort of my old bed awaits me. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Standardized Paternity Tests

I think I'm going to take a paternity test.

Let's be clear, I'm not accusing my wife of anything. It's just, well, yesterday my daughter ate carrots for the first time and she loved them. I don't mean "love" as in the "those were some yummy carrots and I would enjoy having them again" kind of love.

I mean "love" as in the "I'm going to smear carrots all over my face and save some for later" kind of love.

[Picture: The child in question with the alleged carrots.]

Can this really be my child? A veggie-lover?

It's hard to reconcile my thoughts at the moment. On the one hand there's me, waging war against veggies via the Veggielution. And on the other hand, my very own family is subverting my efforts at veggietarial elimination.

On second thought, I won't take a paternity test. I love this little carrot-loving child regardless of whether or not she chooses to embrace a world without veggies. I will just have to accept her for who she is, and try to support her in everything she does.

At least carrots are orange. There's still hope that she'll turn down the leafy greens.

Tornado Warnings

My house is going to be without power for at least a week thanks to Hurricane Gustav's dumb ass. And since no electricity means "no A/C" we decided to drive to Lafayette and mooch off my parents.

But Gustav spawned tornadoes, and the day we made it to Lafayette we had a series of tornado warnings.

Betty and I were huddled in my mom's hallway along with our daughter and my mom, while some strong winds whipped at my parents' home. We had the TV on full blast so we could hear it blaring its emergency messages. Every few minutes the broadcast would honk three times, then a mechanical voice would drone out the names of subdivisions where a tornado was either spotted or expected.

The were two tornado warnings, and we were smack dab in the middle of where both tornadoes were expected to strike.

I'll be honest, I was scared. If it was just me I probably would have been outside taking pictures, but it's different when your five month-old is in your arms.

I noticed that the attic door was directly above us, and we decided to scooch down the hall so we'd be clear of anything falling from the attic. I chastised my mom for not thinking of this; she's usually the one who scares herself silly thinking of the millions of ways we could maim ourselves in any mundane circumstance. This was no time to lose her sense of paranoia!

When the tornado warnings were no longer in effect and the wind died down, we emerged from the darkness of the hallway and slowly made our way to the windows to gaze out upon the storm. We were happy that nothing serious occurred, but the experience was nonetheless draining.

The TV very loudly told us that someone got hit by a tornado north of Lafayette. My heart goes out to them. It's scary enough when there's a tornado warning - it must be a thousand times more frightening to have your house ripped away around you.

But even though our experience was scary and I hope we never have to go through that again, it still beats spending one more night in Baton Rouge without A/C.

God help you A/C-less Baton Rougeans.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Evacuation Complete

The next time I meet someone named Gustav, I'm punching him in the face.

We didn't think Hurricane Gustav would hit Baton Rouge and Prairieville as hard as it did. Even as the hurricane pounded us, we didn't think it was doing much damage because there wasn't as much rain as past hurricanes. Sure, we watched the shingles fly off our neighbor's roof one by one and wondered how our roof was faring, but we just thought our neighbor's roof was a wuss. Little did we know that the wind was making Baton Rouge its bitch.

By the way, this is my roof. We lost a few shingles, but I think we made out pretty well. No leaks that I know of.
[Picture: My roof]

Our power went out about six hours into the hurricane, which is pretty good considering we usually lose power if it's just partly cloudy outside. Once the power went out I instantly tried to seduce Betty, because that's usually how we spend the nights during hurricanes: me trying to seduce her and her throwing the lifeless appliances at me. But this time Anne kept Betty entertained long enough that even my physical prowess was useless against her.

No appliances were harmed during the making of this hurricane.

Instead, we played cards to keep ourselves entertained. Not as much fun as hurricane lovin', but not a bad way to spend the evening.

[Picture: Anne and I consider our Casino hand]

Monday night was miserably hot and muggy. And poor Anne - her entire body was hot to the touch. Betty and I took turns taking cold baths in order to cool off, and we rinsed Anne off as well. Our house was so stuffy that we decided to open the windows, which was dumb - that just let in more humid air. But people in our state have had to deal with much worse than just a hot house, so we lit some candles as I once again failed to seduce Betty.

In typical Tanory fashion, Betty and I waited until after the storm to make our move and tried to evacuate on Tuesday. The radio said that I-10 Westbound was clear, so we packed up Betty's car and made our way out to I-10. Just as we approached the on ramp onto I-10 we noticed that the Check Engine light was on in Betty's car. Crap! We read the owner's manual to see if our car could make it to Lafayette, then decided to go back home and switch cars. We've been stuck on the Atchafalaya Basin for six hours before - we didn't want to break down on it if we could help it.

We went back to the house and moved all our junk from one car to another, then made our way back to I-10. But in the few minutes that it took us to change cars, the cops had blocked off all entrances to I-10 prior to Siegen Lane. Apparently workers were fixing power lines at Siegen Lane and the work was dangerously close to the Interstate.

The cops told us we could enter the Interstate after Siegen, so off we went to find another way onto I-10. We tried going around the work but every alternate route was blocked by downed power lines or fallen trees. We felt like we were in one of those mazes where there's only one correct way through the puzzle, and if you hit a road block you just turn around and try another path.

But not this time. We turned around in defeat.

Instead of heading to my parents' house in Lafayette we went to Betty's cousins' house in Prairieville, where they had a generator and a window A/C unit. If you ever want to know why air conditioning is the greatest human achievement in the history of mankind, just sit down in front of a window unit after a night in a 98 degree house with 100% humidity, and you will do like I did and kneel down in front of the A/C and kiss the cool, refreshing ground.

[Picture: Anne and her cousin Abigail chill out in front of the A/C]

We spent the night in my coworker's camper, where they had A/C and TV. Talk about a far cry from our previous night at my house! It made me seriously consider buying a camper.

Wednesday we made our way to Lafayette. Electricity, running water, A/C, Cajun food and free babysitters, it's like we're in Heaven!

It looks like we'll be here for a week or so, because I don't think our power is going to be restored any time sooner than that. There were too many downed power lines, trees resting on power lines, and blown transformers for the energy companies to have everything fixed faster than that. But we in the greater Baton Rouge area want to thank everyone who came down to help - all of the utility workers, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Here are some pictures we took of the area around our house during our evacuation.

[Picture: Fence blown down]
My neighbor's fence was blown down. They were lucky that it stayed intact, otherwise there could have been some serious lumber projectiles.

[Picture: Tree blown down]
Some of my neighbors have trees in their yard, but for the most part the trees were small and their houses are OK.

[Picture: Ugly stone house still standing]
If there was one good thing this storm could have done it would have been to destroy that ugly stone house. This huge tree came close.

[Picture: Church lost its steeple]
The Baptist church by my house lost its steeple.

[Picture: Broken tree]
This tree broke but mercifully left the power lines intact.

[Picture: Tree on power line]
Not so lucky with this power line. This tree fell and snapped a few power lines, and is holding this line hostage. Oh, and this particular power line provides power to my street. Screw you, tree!