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November 11, 2008


As you may know, I am a veteran member of the world-famous Lawn Rangers precision lawnmower drill team, whose members march every year at the Broom Corn festival in Arcola, Ill., as well as various other events, depending on how drunk they are scheduling. (I have written two columns about the Lawn Rangers, which can be found here and here.) The Lawn Rangers perform highly sophisticated semi-synchronized maneuvers with lawnmowers, brooms, and toilet plungers. Membership in this crack unit is a great honor, bestowed only on whoever shows up very few people.

Today I received an email from Lawn Rangers co-founder Pat Monahan, with a photograph taken in 2003 when the Rangers marched in the Chicago St. Patrick's Day parade. Joining them on this occasion was an up-and-coming Illinois state senator, seen here participating in the rigorous rookie-training program:



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Barack the Plumber??? Say it ain't so!

Hmmmm, Barry and a toilet plunger....how apprapo.

Is membership in the Lawn Rangers a prerequisite for presidential hopefuls?

Hey, will the Lawn Rangers get to march in the inaugural parade?
That would be cool.

Probably more experience at that than anything else he's done.

A fertle training ground for future presidents. Crank up the 2012 campaign, Dave.

The long sewer line road to the White House. What a long, strange drip trip it's been.

Ah, but will that plunger become a metaphor of his reign, er term in office?

I'm thinking that plunger will come in handy very, very soon. No?

i'm sure his mother is very proud.

and..i didn't realize o'bama was irish.

When I find the need to maintain a two-fisted grip on a toilet plunger, Lester/Mrs. WriterDude is usually nearby with a mop.

I'm guessing Michelle played no such role here.

That training paid off. Now he's enjoying the flush of victory.

He's flush with change.

This could be his first scandal...
On the other hand, maybe he really is an O'bama, of the Dublin O'bamas.

Oh now that's going to upset Joe the Plumber, I bet the Palin/McCain ticket is going to use this to try for a recount.

Far be it from me (well, okay, it's only about two feet from me) to criticize such a decorated and prestigious group, but...

Where are the lawn mowers? There's only ONE plunger. I think this organization may have forgotten what it's about. Or else they're doing too much pre-drink drinking and forgetting stuff at home.

So he's obviously got some terrorist plans that involve lawnmowers across America! He's so sneaky!

So THAT'S what's making his pocket bulge - it's flush with CHANGE !
Thanks, Annie !

So Obama IS green!

What's hue got to do with it?

Also, *note to self*, there is apparently no need to get up early to find a seat at the Chicago St. Patrick's Day parade.

Ah, but will that plunger become a metaphor of his reign, er term in office?

Posted by: MartiniShark | 02:40 PM on November 11, 2008

Is that his scepter??

Christ on a cracker! A person just can't get away from this guy.

Jon, he's black (Irish) like me.

Some old shite just needs cleaning out before change can happen.

Now that you mention it, he does seem to have more than just a touch of the blarney to him.

i didn't realize o'bama was irish.
Posted by: crossgirl | 02:53 PM

CG, The dude is, like, totally Irish.

whatever happened to all those people saying "even if you don't respect the man, you should respect the office"... wasn't it just last week?

Looks as if there are only three spectators to the parade. Well, three walker-awayers . . .

judi - guess that was only if the repooplicans won. :l

My former thesis advisor (not pictured) is a member of this illustrious group, though I never went to one of their performances.

Who's behind him?

judi, they were also remarkably silent during the Clinton administration. Seems the direction only applies if a Repub is in office; otherwise, open season on every perceived or rumored imperfection. But, when a Repub is in office, destroying the country, trashing the constitution, committing war crimes, lying to the populace, and decimating the environment ... well ... you better stay quiet or we'll hang you for treason.

In Chicago on St. Patrick's Day, everyone is Irish.

In his case, all he had to add was an apostrophe, since his name already started with O.

Dave --
Do the Lawn Rangers get in battles with the Amish precision lawn mower team?

Arcola is also the home to the Hippie Memorial, but most hippies peace out before doing anything that involves grass.

I hear tell Rush Limbaugh on his radio program has already referred caustically to the "Obama recession" -- 2 months before the man has even been sworn in as President...! This to me is the kind of mindset that is all too common among the so-called "loyal opposition", and I wish they would just give the man a chance to make good on his promises. If he can't do that, then that's another story, but come on people, he isn't even in the White House yet!

As an example of how things should go, I'm no Bush supporter but the man has bent over backward to be gracious to the newbie, they apparently talked for around 2 hours in the Oval Office (while Laura showed Michelle around and, I understand, did much to reassure her about what the girls' life in the White House would be like) and I believe he is sincere when he speaks of handing Obama the baton. Clearly Bush, unlike Limbaugh and his ilk, realizes only too well the need to have a smooth and efficient tradition come next January. In fact I give McCain a lot of credit this Veterans' Day, he has been remarkably gracious about what cannot have been a comfortable situation. I wish I could say the same for Palin, I think all she cares about is shoring up her base for 2012...

lol i like it! o'bama

Judi: Yeah, I wonder why they hate America so much?

I coulda sworn I saw the Lawnrangers in the Doodah Parade.

So, this is TWO things you and Obama have in common, Dave! It's a wonder he beat you to the presidency.

Annie -- do they still do the Doodah Parade? Those were fun. I remember the Lawn Chair Drill Team very well.

Jon had also mentioned the O' at 3:04, which inspired my black Irish comment. If I had known about his Irish affiliation, I might have considered him more seriously. (I'm kidding - I don't vote race or gender. ) :)

WriterDude - yes. There are even some copycat Doodoodahs in Ohio and Jersey. And of course I confused lawn chairs with lawn mowers. And Chicago with Pasadena. Doi. I'm gonna go run with scissors now.

Obama's signal to the world was clear: "Watch this space, I'm taking the plunge(r)". At the time, Republicans dismissed him as a flush in the pan.

WD - yes, they still do what is called the "DooDah", but it is a shell of its former glory, sad to say. Before I start getting all worked up over it, let us just say that it is best left to history.
And even though Pasadena has gentrified the heck out of itself, and there are many more watering holes than before, the pub crawl has been dead for a really long time.

funny. after 8 years of daily trashing of a sitting president, all of a sudden we have to "respect the office". or if we disagree, we hate America....

Annie -- I was in 7th grade three towns over (Duarte) when they held the first one. Good to know they're still going strong.

judi -- I hope you didn't mistake my bad puns for disrespect for the President-Elect or the office, because I made 100 calls for the man on election day. ;-)

Ah, tcd, I stand corrected. Sad to know they're still going weak, then.

WD: So, it was YOU! I spilled my latte all over my arugula when the phone rang . . .

*snork* Had to have been someone else, MKJ -- I didn't make any calls to Jersey that day.

nobody said anyone hated america, Jazzz. (Edit: Whoops! I missed that, sorry).
the ones who have been insisting "you must respect the office even if you don't like what the president does" are now responsible for doing so. that's all.

and steve, i totally agree with you. there are some classy people involved in this whole thing now that the election is over. i just wish we as a people didn't respond so well to the nasty stuff, and the elections themselves could be conducted so adult-ly (if that could be a word, just for today).

I would find it easier to respect the office if they'd do something with those curtains. Definately Presidential-icky. And that round rug simply MUST go. Anyone who disagrees with me is a Socialist. ;)

judi, does that also go for President Logan?

but annie, if they remove the round rug how will they have circle time?

they just want the excuse to take the rug and share it with you, annie.

I think the thing about McCain is, it's like all those movies where an alien parasite takes over someone's mind control, and he starts doing things he would never do otherwise. As soon as someone zaps the parasite and it releases its hold on the victim, he becomes a good, decent man again and regrets the things he did when he had no control over his actions. But those who know him are just happy he's himself again. I have every confidence that once Obama takes office, he will be able to turn to McCain for advice along with his own inner circle; in fact, if he's smart, he'll make Mccain an honored member of that circle. We simply cannot afford to continue on with the same rote divisiveness that plagued the campaign, and that some commentators are still mired in even as we speak...

Still, as Dennis Miller would say, "Of course that's just my opinion -- I could be wrong..."

*snork* @ crossgirl! How do you tell the President to sit in the corner when the room is Oval? Might be fun to try.

thanks Judi...

Jazzzz, meet Irony; Irony, meet Jazzzz

I'm glad some pointed at the youtube video of There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama

Chorus 1:
O’Leary, O’Reilly, O’Hare and O’Hara
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama
From the ould Blarney stone to the green hills of Tara
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama

You don’t believe me when I hear you say
But Barack’s as Irish as our own JFK
His grandaddy’s granddaddy came from Moneygall
A village in Offaly, well known to you all


His mam’s daddy’s grandaddy was one Fulmuth Kearney
He’s as Irish as any, from the lakes of Killarney
His mam’s from a long line of great Irish mamas
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama


He looks after his own, a true son of St. Patrick
He chose as his mate, Joe Biden, a Catholic
Prodies, Jews, Muslisms, even the Dalai Lama
No, there’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama


Our Barack’s a hero, I heard them say
Fenian to Kenyan, it’s the American way
He’s Cúchulainn, Liongo, not Vishnu or Brahma
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama


A name is a name and there’s no doubt about it
Barack O’Bama’s name, we can shout it
Whether apostrophe or inverted comma
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama.


Now you Hillary supporters don’t you vote for McCain
And the VP needs brains, so forget about Palin
With Cheney and Bush, they are all ignorama
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama


From Kerry to Cork to old Donegal
Let’s hear it for Barack from old Moneygall
From the lakes of Killarney to old Connemara
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama


Tooral-U, tooral-S, tooral-A, toor-a-lama
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama


I almost forgot to mention the He Man Chainsaw Marching Band They march every year in the Ithaca Festival Parade

oh barry boy
the gripes, the gripes are growing
before your bum has hit the white house chair
the campaign's gone, your honeymoon is dying
stewart and leno will go into overdrive.
but what we lack in loyalty and respect for you
we more than make up in how we know
whate'er you do will upset someone, somewhere
oh barry boy, we love to say we told you so!

Sheherazhde..... Now THAT is pretty out there. Please tell me they don't crank them...

Oh, insom boy,
The padded room is calling.... ;)

Barack is half Irish. Much like the "Muslim" rumors, his ancestor also dealt with a smear campaign.

Hey, I'm just glad the man with the most votes got to be President this time. AND with a majority. I just continuously pray for the country, whichever party has power. And all thanks to our veterans and their families. Whoops, forgot for a momnent it's a comedic blog. Nipples, nippples, nipples. Ahhhh, great to be back.

Speaking of music: the Lawn Rangers also are fine vocalists, with a very tasteful repertoire.

Here's a theory about McCain I came across; I kinda like it (remember the early primaries in 2000):

I keep getting a mental image of McCain on election night, looking broken, then walking off stage, shutting himself alone in a room, and out comes an enormous creepy grin. He immediately picks up a phone, dials a number, and says, "Hello, Karl? Yeah, how do you like your permanent majority now? Payback's a biatch, fat boy," then hangs up.

Tonight, humor is definately in the eye of the beerholder.

...or wine drinker

Seriously...what Jazzzzie said. Nothing that was said here was in any way vicious or disrespectful. We were joking, people! We can't joke about Obama now? I've joked about Bush as well. Come on, guys! Humor blog, remember??

*off to get more wine so's I can behave more adult-ly*

oh yeah...*o'snork @ insom*

^5, jazzz.

Nice one, insom. How 'bout...

Saint Paddy's Day
In a deep and dank Arcola
I am co-o-o-old

Hailing from Chicago
The grasses I will mow
With my plunger and my plumber's wrench in tow

I am Barack
I am from I----Ireland

Remind me again what law it is that states that, even in disagreement, citizens must respect the office of the President? Oh yeah, there isn't one. It just seems to be the mantra of those who don't like it when someone else has a point. We've heard it from republicans and now we're already hearing it from the democrats. How about we just respect each others right to free speech? There is a law about that, but it doesn't say you have to agree.

And as a good faith measure for keeping the blog light:



I was so hoping the political sniping would be over with the election.

On the bright side, his name will be really handy in Scrabble. Unless some Socialist bans proper nouns.

Steve Haller - I totally agree with your Pod Person comment. That was my thought exactly during the concession speech (and I am a RABID Obama supporter.)

wow! lots to read this morning.

annie, aren't proper nouns banned in Scrabble? have i been played-- and playing incorrectly-- all these years? dang! *note to self: read directions yourself*

wow. wonder if there will be some lobbying going on.

proper nouns are definitely banned in florida, nora.

He's going to redistribute the sewage, obviously. AND he's clearly palling around with tourists, and meeting without preconditions with leaders who threaten our countryside with weapons of grass destruction.

The above are jokes, feeble though they may be.

Please, folks. We are all guilty of hyperpartisanship at one time or another, and we ought to do better than fall into bitter name-calling and nasty attacks on our leaders and their supporters (that, by the way, is US). We, as Americans, have the right to legitimately argue about the records of those in office and the plans of those who will succeed them, and thoughtful criticism is vital to strengthening our democratic society.

But, as Dave has said in a recent column, I believe we need to ratchet the rhetoric down, as it seems we can no longer tell the difference between humor and actual animosity, and we stand much too ready to accuse each other of not loving our country when we offer legitimate criticism. This applies to all of us of all political persuasions.

For the sake of full disclosure, I am an ardent Obama supporter. I have asked in the past, though, that we not stray too far here into mocking the politicians of either side. This blog is a great source of fun, and seeing it occasionally turn into yet another place on the internet where people disrespect each other is very disheartening.

Surely (or whoever you are), we can find ways to poke fun at our leaders without provoking all out war among ourselves.

a couple of points:

1. it is very cool that the blog drank beer a waved plungers with our next president. wish i had been there.

2. every president gets scrutinized, picked on and accused of bizzare things, regardless of their party, get used to it.

3. it is largely because of flame-throwing that i, who used to be here everyday, all day, am now a once-a-week poster.

I like pie.

Better be apple, Steve......

mud, we miss your unique and original contributions. Your point no. 3 (yes!) is, I believe, also true of many former Bloggers who now no longer grace us with their wit as often as they used to or even at all. I certainly can't prove it, but I think the reasons in their cases are similar to yours.

I have tried to make the case that it would be better to stick around here rather than let the place drift slowly in unfortunate directions by attrition, but I have not been too persuasive.

I had the honor of marching with the Lawn Rangers about 20 years ago. They are a dedicated bunch, who put the rookies through a rigorous 10 minute training session, followed by an hour long warm down session involving plenty of reviving malt based muscle relaxants, followed by some serious and essential goupie preparation training

I only marched at the Boom Corn festival in Arcola, and then simple because I misheard the name of the Festival, and was under the impression it was The Porn festival.

Looking at the photo it seems clear to me that even back then BO was practicing good democratic, employment enhancing principals,

we could solve the employment losses in the plumbing industry by making sure that any job requiring a plunger must be handled by two union plumbers, each charging their standard rates of about $85 per hour.

By the way, his farsightedness is demonstrated by the evidence of spare plunger he has in his left pants pocket. This tells me that he will not sit down with Ahmadinejad with out proper preconditions and safeguards.
we are in good hands.

I pal around with terriers. A couple of months later we distribute the whelps.

I'm with Dave. I think we should all have a Martini.

*snork*@ judi the socialista & steve's pie!

It's often harder to stick around and turn the conversation back toward humor than it is to just walk away. I think some of the anger comes from misunderstanding - one blogger might attempt a joke that another sees as an attack, and away we go.

I think I was at the last Broom Corn Festival in which Dave marched. Wore one of my Tropic Hunt shirts too, but wasn't able to find him after the parade to say hello. (This was in my pre-"24 Guy" days).

that is awesome, steve. are you from Amazing Arcola?

I am a proud member of the World Famous Lawn Rangers. I have marched with Dave Barry at Arcola, but was not at the Chicago parade that Barack made an appearance.

For the record the plunger is used by our squad leader who directs us in the two "intricate" moves we perform during the parades. We couldn't remember more than two moves.

I am a proud member of the World Famous Lawn Rangers. I have marched with Dave Barry at Arcola, but was not at the Chicago parade that Barack made an appearance.

For the record the plunger is used by our squad leader who directs us in the two "intricate" moves we perform during the parades. We couldn't remember more than two moves.

Meanie...yeah...my normal blog reading mode is chuckle chuckle LOL chuckle dangtheyposteditbefore I could. Every once in a while I'll strike a comment that gives me a frisson* of discomfort, and I kind of lose heart. I think I just have an idealized image of all y'all. Guess I gotta just toughen up! Kumbaya, everybody.

*a small fuzzy dog of French extraction

I don't post very much anymore but only because I'm too freakin' busy. And when I do, often it's hours or days after everyone's moved on to the next topic or ten. No doubt this state of affairs is appreciated by at least some of the bloglits. :-)

Let's see... Barack Obama marched with the Rangers, John McCain did not... Barack Obama won the presidency by a LANDSLIDE, John McCain is a loser.

Coincidence? I don't think so.

what's really amazing is that this guy, who just five years ago, was an "up and coming state senator" is now the President-elect of the world's only remaining superpower (to coin a phrase). I voted for the guy in question, but that still makes me scared as hell.

There were a LOT more people at that parade as I recall.

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