And So It Rose (Part One)

It was over sixty years ago on a cold, rainy night when a Jimmy Dean Sausage had sexual relations with a jar of mayonnaise that produced Paula Deen. Her celebrity recently reached a new pinnacle when she was selected as grand marshal for the ever incredible Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA. John, Kathy, and I all drove in the wee hours of the new year to watch this spectacle as Paula let all of the all-organic floats down the parade lane. What we didn't see was that at end of the parade was a massive deep-fryer where each float was cooked to it's doom. Those artichokes pictured went from "art" to "chokes" after a drum of butter. Oh the massacre.

The second odd irony concerning the Rose Parade is that almost every float is given one and only one trophy. I'm not sure if the trophies are given as a credit for sponsorship or are awarded to the legitimate craftsmen who designed and decorated these mobile works, but almost assuredly every float was preceded by a wind-swept banner indicating the trophy won. Perhaps there used to be more floats and now there's almost as many floats as trophies. Regardless, it seemed like little league with everyone going home with something. We couldn't read all of the trophies from our place in the grandstands, but I'll write them for you here. This float won "Most Likely to Be Foreclosed Due to Shady Lending Practices" Trophy.

Separate every few collective of floats was some acclaimed marching band from either a college or a high school or some worthy nation across the globe. The banks themselves did not earn trophies in the parade, but apparently had won some number of band-like competitions just to be present. Let's give them awards too. This band won the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Who Blows Your Horn" Trophy.

Those dear folk at the Kiwanis organization did a wonderful job on their entry. It was no surprise that they won "Most Likely to Be Crushed Hearing Santa Claus Isn't Real" Trophy.

It's awe-inspiring to realize that the moving ferris wheel, dunk tank, and spinning carousel were all coated with organic materials. The colors and detail just amazed the crowds. But it wasn't the colors or the details that judges noticed when they bequeathed the "Disappointing Lack of Fried-Twinkies" Trophy here.

While some may think that heroin was Bayer's crowning achievement, officials at the rose parade thought the two knights attacking a tiny castle earned the crowd-favorite "Best Metaphor for Heroin Trip" Trophy.

These followed the Bayer Advanced float. Results may vary. Please consult your physician if you experience any medieval side-effects.

Quikrete's entry recalled the story of the three pigs and a big, bad, hyperpneic wolf. This was their second float design, as the first paid homage to those fine, imported, Italian concrete shoes that worked gangbusters at keeping people breathless. "Sleeping with the Fishes" was supposed to feature Spongebob, fishes, and some seriously dark allusions to former mafia whistleblowers. Three little pigs seemed like a much better candidate to win the "Second Best Use of Concrete in a Childhood Story" Trophy.

The first little pig built his house of straw. The wolf blew through that.

The second little pig built his house of sticks. The wolf blew through that.

The third little pig built his house of concrete slabs. The wolf did not blow through that. Instead, he used the straw and sticks that he blew off of the first houses to build a steady fire under the concrete house. After 6 hours of slow cooking with smoked cedar undertones, the wolf waited for a Californian earthquake to crack the facade. He finally had his pulled pork sandwich and it was just right.

The Cal-Poly float envisioned rockets and spacemen and planetary travel. Everyone laughed and hurrayed seeing what they thought was a mock rocket. This was not a mocket. It took the feverish team of engineers several miles to finally get the plant-based fuel to ignite and send the plant-based materials into orbit. They were quickly awarded the "Oh crap, that was real!?" Trophy once the second stage rocket broke mesosphere. The award was previously awarded to Paula Dean's mayonnaise meatloaf sandwich, but after Paula ate it, worked out for everyone involved.

These band dancers won the "Kathy Thinks They Have the Worst Costume and the Lady in Front of Kathy Agreed" Trophy. I guess "won" is a term loosely used.

She got to ride a bronze lioness for over 5 miles. I don't think she needs a trophy.

He rode a junior swan cart for over 5 miles. He deserved the "I'm Not Compensating for Anything" Trophy.

US Bank tried to create their own children's story via flowers with the tale of Goldilocks and the three houses. The first house was too small. The second house was too old. But the third and biggest houses was so affordable due to US Bank's lowest mortgage loan rates in years! No one on the parade council was fooled. The fattest judge pulled out of his pocket the stained and sweaty "Nice Flowers But You're Still Just Marketing" Trophy.

The flowers were, in fact, very nice even up close. It's funny how real bark isn't used as fake tree bark.

Former inmate of the Phelps Correctional Center got early release so long as her parole included shameless advertising.

Yes this is a lobster costume. I completely forget why, but there were two lobster men. He wins "Best Float Not on Wheels Or Made of Flowers" Trophy.

It took a moment to realize that the four grounds-people were pulling ropes representative of kite strings. Clever, actually, if not for the fact that the kites didn't exactly seem flyable. They were more like artist interpretations of kites. The "Where Did You Learn About Kites?" Trophy found it's new home for the 2011 year.

It was an awesome view. Luckily, we were out of mocking range.

Apparently this is less funny if you've seen any number of TV ads that also feature this semiotic blend. Special award: "This Is Why I Don't Have TV" Trophy.

"Most Likely To Narrowly Lose the Rose Bowl Game" Trophy.

The odd cult of odd fellows and rebekahs believe in a supreme being. I think they mean Poseidon: ruler of the murky depths and toothy swimmers. These fans of fins and fun won the "BP Aw Slick!" Trophy.

The "Brown Nose" Trophy for creating a rose bowl float for the rose parade.

Neon Americans are still fighting for their rightful homeland which, unfortunately, has been packaged into luminescent advertising signs across the world. For that day will be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshiny day.

The "Native Paraplegic Americans" Trophy was given to the float. The photo was just after all of the paraders rose up from their wheelchairs and magically began dancing. Thank you prescription drug!

The cheerleaders were given pixy sticks every 3000 feet in the parade. When they ran out of sticks, they just gave them foodbags filled with dextrose. Finally, they just had a big troft of sugar for them to graze. "Sugar Bowl" Trophy.

Here's the TCU mascot. I believe they are the Anaphylactic Bee Sting Victims! Or maybe the Suffocating Sea Anemones! The Earless Elephants? This is very confusing.

These aren't real firemen. These aren't real policemen either. Nor are they emergency workers of any kind. I don't care that your float was painstakingly constructed out of pollen and twigs -- if you're a fireman in a parade you better damn well throw candy. "Most Disappointing Float Not to Throw Candy" Trophy lay here.