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Let this be a lesson for you: Long-distance running and high-fiber diets don’t mix.

Especially after you’ve spent a week-and-a-half ingesting 15 pounds of sausage and schnitzel – that’s 6.8 kilograms for those of you measuring in Germany.

And don’t say I didn’t warn you: Long-distance running and high-fiber diets certainly don’t mix when that 6.8 kilos of pork product have been washed down with 2.5 liters of German beer (which is the metric equivalent of two-thirds of a milk jug). And now, in your old age (39-and-10-months), you really don’t drink much beer anymore because your digestive system doesn’t really tolerate it to0 well.

It gives me gas. Bad gas. Gas of the mouth and ass variety. You have been warned. You can still turn back – and you can still respect me in the morning…

Continue reading Runs

Krewe of Helios-Arizona IX, 03.05.11

Yes, you’re still our friends… and no, you didn’t offend us when you threw up in the gumbo pot… and honestly, you didn’t get blacklisted when you sparked our first-ever police visit for your awesome (illegal) parking job… and it’s OK, really, our friend the paramedic didn’t mind resuscitating you after you licked the hottest substance known to mankind – and hey, at least you didn’t have to go to the emergency room.


Mardi Gras is late this year – Fat Tuesday is March 8 – which means our annual parade of Louisiana goodness and gluttony rolls at 4 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.

Continue reading Krewe of Helios-Arizona IX, 03.05.11


Laissez les bon temps rouler!
We hope y’all will join us for the Eighth Annual Krewe of Helios-Arizona Mardi Gras Parade and Party:
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Pat and Stacy World Headquarters
24952 N. 74th Place
Scottsdale AZ 85255
As many of you have been here, done this and actually returned home with a T-shirt (and boatloads of authentic Mardi Gras beads), no changes have been made to our parade route or party format – but in case you had one too many hurricanes last year – or the year before that, or the year before that – here it is in a nutshell:
Arrive on time (4 PM) for the parade… bring the kiddos, a friend and a lawn chair, but no four-legged companions… genuflect before our 2010 Parade Queen Tami Simmons… catch the bountiful beads raining down from our cul-de-sac-circumnavigating flotilla of floats (but please, keep your clothes on)… get in line… eat some homemade Cajun goodness (gumbo, red-beans-and-rice, grits, muffalettas)… drink some hurricanes (but not too many)… eat a slice of authentic New Orleans king cake (but don’t choke on the baby) and laissez les bon temps rouler!
For those of you who do not arrive on time (4 PM), don’t whine to us that you are eating the pan-scrapings of cold grits. Do not complain that you have never seen a muffaletta and believe it to be offensive to your Italian heritage. Don’t be upset when you see others wearing cool KREWE OF HELIOS-ARIZONA T-SHIRTS. You have been warned: The time is anointed, so don’t be disappointed. 4 o’clock is the time to rock.
And for those of you late-arriving lackeys that look at your watch at 9:30 PM and think, “Hey, now’s a great time to show up for the party!” THINK AGAIN! Our neighbors are nice people. They tolerate an annual parade on their street. They dig Mardi Gras beads out of their cacti and allow strangers to park in their driveways in exchange for our annual romp through the culinary goodness of the Bayou State. We like them. They tolerate us. They like to sleep (and so do I). The finish time for our party is 10 PM. If you are here at 9:59, expect a gentle serenade of “Turn Out the Lights, the Party’s Over.” If you arrive at 10:05, you will feel the wrath of cranky Stacy. Six hours is plenty of time to party!
So come on out and have some fun – January 30 – yes, it’s early. The actual Fat Tuesday is February 16, but we’ll be at our hometown Mardi Gras and the weekend before that is Super Bowl weekend, ergo, we decided to kick off the parade season… and yes, we are on the national parade calendar… but no, we are not the first parade of the year. So come on out and have some fun!
Krewe of Helios Arizona Mardi Gras Parade
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Be there, aloha!
(And for those of you who haven’t been with us before, you can check out our parade etiquette and rules in this delightful 7th edition explanation… or even the 6th edition… or the 4th… you get the picture)

Political Spectrum Quiz – Go Figure

I’m not shocked to discover that I lean pretty hard Libertarian…
My Political Views
I am a centrist social libertarian
Right: 0.23, Libertarian: 5.03

Political Spectrum Quiz
I do believe my foreign policy views have been shaped by the blunders of the Bush Administration…
My Foreign Policy Views
Score: -1.11

Political Spectrum Quiz
And yeah, when it comes to free speech, freedom from religion, and the ability to make up my own mind without the interference from the moral certitude of others, I’m in the foxhole lobbing grenades in the culture wars…
My Culture War Stance
Score: -5.83

Political Spectrum Quiz


Went home this weekend – to Louisiana and East Texas and back to Arizona, all in the span of three days.
Home: 70 percent humidity. 80 degrees. 100 percent misery. Even shade is no haven – the warm damp just sticks to the backs of your thighs like so many vinyl car seats. But it’s my home – it’s where I’m from, or as they say back home, where my people are from.
Now I make my home in Arizona. 15 percent humidity. 100 degrees. Sunshine 300 days of the year. Climatically, it’s a much better trade off if you ask me – though it did my heart good to see the silver backs of oak leaves hissing in the wind. You don’t really hear the breeze through the leaves out here in Arizona – and I don’t really miss it until I go home to the tangle of kudzu among the trunks of roadside woods. Forest primeval and all that.
We ate crawfish – my all-time favorite food in the whole world and the very definition of “in season” and “locally grown.” Apparently you dial a phone number 1-800-555-BUGS, and a nameless gentleman will meet you on the side of the road with some fifty-pound sacks on ice in the bed of his pick-up truck. Cash only. They were the most gorgeous big-fat mudbugs I’ve ever eaten (and yes, I say that every year – absence makes the heart grow fonder and the eyes grow bigger).
So we drank cold beer and ate hot bugs, and allow me to state for the record, that the folks back in Athens, Texas do a mighty fine job with the Pat and Stacy Krewe of Helios-Arizona gumbo recipe. We are honored to be on the guest list for the Clays’ annual crawfish boil and I believe we’ve (I’ve) made it to each one (I believe attendance is mandatory since we were sort of the inspiration for the shindig). Truly, this is one of my trips “home” every year because I go to see old friends and my family makes the drive from Shreveport.
In his comet-like appearance – once in a blue moon, and really exciting when it happens – Pat riled up the children, demonstrating why it’s important to pull up your shorts, lest you trip and fall while giving chase (or being chased).
Of course, he ended the evening with the unforgettable quote: “Where have y’all been all night? I’ve only saved the galaxy only three times while y’all’ve been out here drinking beer?”
He said it while holding a light saber and beating back a marauding horde of under-10s that came at him in waves like mini-Mel Gibsons from Braveheart.
And then it was time to come home. Pat says his home now is in Arizona – our home is here. I’d never go back to Louisiana to stay: There’s not as much opportunity there for us, and frankly, it’s too damn hot. But when I’m leaving to go there, I say I’m going home…
Home to the leafy trellis and porch swing in my folks’ backyard, resonant with good memories and good times to come. Home to lazy drawls and screen porches and buzzing locusts and whining frogs. Home to people that sweat the crawfish season and compare gumbo recipes and bring sandwiches for the kids and anyone else, just in case they don’t want crawfish. Home where your friends miss your mom because she couldn’t make it this year to save the day like she always does.
But when it’s time to take leave and return to the desert, I return with relish and longing. It’s time to go back home, I say, back to our dogs and the nest that we’ve made, back to our backyard and our small piece of parched earth in this strong and barren landscape. It’s good to be back home. It’s more than where I hang my hat. It’s where I lay my head and dream my dreams.