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Politics, parties, and parades 

Well, another Mardi Gras came and went, and we're all still alive. At least, I think I'm alive. And I think it was Mardi Gras. I kinda forgot all about lifting my top so I could get beads or an indecency fine--whichever came first--because of the whole Super-Super-Duper-Dee-Duper Tuesday deal.

So county Democrats favored Barack Obama over state Democrats' decision to vote for Hillary Clinton, huh? And Republicans cast their votes for John McCain? I'm more interested in the little guys.

Green Party candidate Jared Ball, who visited the Central Coast with his hip-hop message a while ago, got seven votes in the county. This isn't a dig at the Green Party, mind you--making fun of third party voters is as easy and low as kicking a two-legged puppy--but didn't it take more than seven people to get him here? I'll admit that I don't know much about the logistics behind event planning, so I could be vastly overestimating the resources necessary for getting a presidential hopeful into town. But only seven votes? Good thing New Times did a story on him when he visited. Otherwise, he might have fared as well as the Peace and Freedom Party's Brian Moore, who only got one vote. Or that party's Stanley Hetz, who didn't get any.

Maybe they fared better in other counties. Or other states.

When I was checking on the polls come late Tuesday night, my eyes caught the headline: "Huckabee revived, at least 20 dead." I wondered what could've happened until I realize that my eyes were crossing and mixing up two different headlines--one about the Republican presidential hopeful and one about a tornado in the South. I'd like to make a joke, but neither of those subjects is very funny.

So with my sights set firmly on the voters in 22 some-odd states--and apparently American Samoa, wherever that is--I got so caught up in watching the big national shindigging, I didn't even pay attention to what was going on in my own backyard. Or front yard, for that matter. Maybe if I had been paying attention, I would've seen whoever decided to use my mailbox as a urinal on Fat Tuesday. No matter. It was mostly past-due utility bills in there, anyway.

No, that didn't happen. Nothing did. Nobody peed in my yard, nobody rattled my windows. I'm lying because I have nothing better to do right now.

Honestly, it bummed me out that Mardi Gras had slipped my mind. The Mardi Gras soapbox is one of my favorites to stand on. I look forward to it all year. I even circle the day on my calendar with a big, red pen.

I think a lot of other locals have forgotten about Mardi Gras, too, which is good news for the SLO Police Department. Once I remembered about Fat Tuesday, I went back and checked around. Capt. Dan Blanke, who speaks on behalf of local badges, had sent out daily reports on party activities--or lack thereof. Once again, downtown was basically quiet. No flaming piles of beads, no mass streaking through the streets. A bunch of officers got sent home early.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad that nothing burned down. I'm as big of an opponent of riots as the next guy, unless that guy happens to be a British football hooligan.

Ah, forget it. It's not even worth writing about the lack of Mardi Gras any more. The absence is the norm. The void is the standard. I'm talking like a nihilist, so I'm going to switch gears for a moment.

While flipping through the police reports and blotters, searching for any Mardi Gras madness I may have missed, I stumbled upon Pismo Beach's daily activity log. Feb. 4 seems to have been an interesting day for the beach patrol. Sandwiched between reports of the discovery of an abandoned bike and a transient asking for money are not one, but two accounts of beachgoers complaining about women being photographed while kissing on a beach rock below Spyglass Park. The women were topless at least, and naked at most.

The diligent officers made contact. As best as I can tell, the ladies got a talking to. That's about it.

Bring on the creativity

Did you know that there's a Cal Poly in Pomona? Copycats. It's not like there's a limited number of college names out there. They could have come up with one of their own.

Newspapers, though, you've only got a handful of titles to pick from: Times, Sun, Star, Journal, World, Argus, Enquirer. Sure, you've got your random weirdo publications who buck the rules out there, but that's about it. Colleges, on the other hand, are virtually limitless. If you liked me enough, or I gave you a big enough donation, you could start a Shredder College. I'd offer a B.A. in snarkiness.

So anyway, San Luis Obispo's own Cal Poly--and that other Cal Poly--are looking for ideas for a float in the 2009 Tournament of Roses Parade. The umbrella theme they're asking everyone to work under is "Hats Off to Entertainment." I ask you, what's more entertaining than life in San Luis Obispo County?

Winner gets a $1,000 cash prize, and I want it. I'm submitting a float idea. I don't want to give too much away, but it combines a little bit of everything I just wrote about: naked women on rocks, police wandering aimlessly through lackluster Mardi Gras streets, Clinton and McCain--and I'm throwing in a giant Ernie Dalidio, too, just for good measure. You know, since Measure J just got overturned and all, he might have to watch his dreams for developing his land deflate like a stuck pig-shaped balloon. Maybe seeing a big model of himself made out of gardenias will cheer him up.

You can submit an idea, too. They're due at 5 p.m. on Feb. 8, so if you were lazy and picked up your New Times any time after Friday, you missed out on your chance to become rich.

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