I haven't posted worth a damn in February. Normal excuses -- busy at work, my house is a zoo in the evenings, etc. (I do wish I had been quick enough and clever enough to compare Governor Jindal's address to Kenneth on 30 Rock, but I am neither. Also, I was watching LSU play Florida on ESPN, so I only caught a couple of snippits during commercial breaks.)
The thing you might not realize if you're not in the area is how much time Mardi Gras can take up during February. Here's a roundup of my season this year.
|Jan 31: Spanish Town Ball|
I posted some pics of the day from this event in early February. It was its usual thing -- a lot of pink, a lot of crazy and slightly obscene costumes.
The only thing to bring out of it is a quote, but the quote requires a little setup.
Jim -- the butt pirate -- had to go take a leak, but he was a little wary of standing in the line for the men's room with butt cheeks showing. I needed to go too, so I offered to walk over there with him. After a short reunion with a security guard (who coincidentally watches the nearest bathrooms to where we tailgate on football game days), we moved into the men's room line. Jim worked his way to the front of the line, and when a urinal opened up, someone pointed him toward it.
His reply: "No thanks. I'll wait for a stall. I have the pantyhose and all."
Only at the Spanish Town Ball would that be the most natural comment in the world.
|I had looked for this image of the metal sails for a pic of the day, but couldn't find it at the time. I couldn't be more impressed.|
|Feb 15: Mutts|
We had planned to do Barkus in New Orleans this year, instead of Mutts in Baton Rouge. It's basically the same thing, different city. But the thought of driving home from New Orleans after an exhausting day wrangling two dogs and a three-year-old was not appealing. So we made the last minute call to parade in Baton Rouge.
The costumes were based on a real life event, that we kept on the burner since about this time last year. Vanya was in a doorway with the dogs on the other side. Not thinking through the dynamic, I walked away from the scene and yelled, "Hey Dogs! Wanna treat?"
The first dog hit the kid, knocking him face-down on the floor and continued to the kitchen in full run without even losing speed. The second dog trapled right over the face-down toddler, also at full speed. Mrs. theskinnyonbenny witnessed the trampling, and compared it to the running of the bulls.
We lined up for the costume contest with problems galore. The miniature Pamplonan had fallen asleep on the way to the parade, and refused to run in front of the bulls. In fact, he refused to walk on his own at all. One of the bulls wouldn't keep her horns on her head, so we pulled her out of the contest at the last minute. Then, none of them would look at the judges, which was just as well, because my last reamaining bull had knocked her horns cockeyed, and I couldn't bend down to fix them while holding the miniature Pamploanan.
By parade time, horns were on and the kid was awake, so it turned out fine.
As you walk, you hear people comment on your costumes. It turns out that Baton Rougans are much more familiar with The Devil than they are with bovines.
|The running of the bulls|
|Feb 19: Muses|
Thursday before Mardi Gras, I left work early, picked up the kid, and headed to New Orleans for the parades. Mrs. theskinnyonbenny is a member of the Krewe of Muses, and Thursday is their night to parade. Even without her participation, Muses would be my favorite parade. The floats, attractions, and throws are as good or better than the big famous ones over the weekend, and the crowds are lighter. The result is a fun parade where the throws just rain down.
We got to the parade route early, and didn't have to wait too long before the first parade (not Muses, and I don't know which one it was) started. There was a fat guy by the street, standing in front of us, and he had on a set of fake platic boobs, with a hoodie zipped over it. He would often unzip to flash his plastic.
"What's that Papa?" the little voice chirped.
"Oh nothing. That's just boobies."
The man zipped back up, and we watched some more parade. The cold wind picked up a bit. A different old man turned and asked Vanya, "Are you cold?"
"No. There's boobies over there," he answered, pointing at the man.
And later, out of the blue, "Papa, I like boobies."
It makes a father proud.
Muses didn't get downtown until quite late, and Mrs. theskinnyonbenny was on the very last float. Jim (the butt pirate from above) had watched the parade uptown, and he arrived downtown in time to see the whole thing again. It turns out that he had been running along next to the wrong float yelling Mrs. theskinnyonbenny's name up at the strangers in masks, so he needed the opportunity to get good stuff while he was down.
Vanya fell asleep in my arms right at the beginning of the parade. But almost at the end, one of the rolling Elvi rolled up, patted him on the back, and then offered him a lollypop. The candy was enough to break the sleep, and he caught the last few floats, and may or may not have believed that the masked rider in the last float was his mother.
|This is the only picture I have from Muses, since I was holding Vanya the whole parade. Thanks to Stacie for sending me this one.|
|Feb 21: Tucks|
After a detour for an afternoon sail on Friday, we went back into New Orleans on Saturday, intending to catch Iris and Tucks. We walked down with our friends Dave and Suzanne who live just a couple of blocks off of the parade route.
We missed all but the very last float of Iris, denying us our annual opportunity to be ignored by old women.
Tucks was fun. Good parade. The parade paused with a group of horses next to us, and since there was nothing better to do, a couple of the riders brought their mounts to the side of the road so the kids could pet them on the nose. They stood around over there for a while, when a horse in front of us turned on a garden hose of urine, which ran in a river right back into the crowd.
The pee had an earthy, grassy smell, and kids and old ladies scurried to move their bags and coolers out of the stream.
Suzanne complained about the smell, so I told her, "It just smells like Kentucky to me."
(Kentucky is her home state, but I couldn't find a way to work that fact gracefully into the story.)
|River of horse piss.|
|Feb 24: Beauregard Town|
For some reason, there is no actual parade in Baton Rouge on Fat Tuesday. Last year, the hippies and liberals of Beauregard Town started their own little walking parade. Beauregard Town is a mixed-use neighborhood on the south side of downtown Baton Rouge. It's where we have our business office, and where Mrs. theskinnyonbenny works every day, but I would love to live down there too.
The parade is more of a party with props, that moves up and down through the streets in a big blob of peple. There's constant music, and only a small handful of spectators, all of whom are cajoled into joining the parade spontaneously.
You will have to check the pictures in order to do justice to the event.
|A robot joined the bull for the BT parade this year.|
. And that's very, very little from the New Orleans parades.