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 that damn Muddy Rag #4
Groundhog Day 1995  
The Officious Newsletter of the Sturdy Beggar™ Appreciation Society

Hey, hey, and Happy Groundhog day!
(The closest thing we beggars have to a national holiday) I hope you all got the day off work and school to reverently pay your respects to all creatures who selflessly scratch the soil for the betterment of man-
kind. If you didn't get the day off, perhaps you should inaugurate a massive letter writing campaign to your state representatives to inform them that their "Contract On America" means squat without a "National Observation of Groundhog Day" clause.
I do hope this newsletter finds you all bright and sunny, with your proverbial groundhog casting no shadows. For a lot of you, this here is your very first newsletter from your adored Sturdy Beggars™. Welcome aboard, we are glad you have wed our ilk.
Now I know what you freshmen mudpuppies must be thinking: "When I thoughtfully submitted my good name to this admirable institution I made a sober commitment which only my death shall sever. There is no offering too great, nor sacrifice too dear, that I would not ecstatically yield to this hallowed society...a society that I shall faithfully serve above and beyond all may other obligations and fealties." And, since I can't cut you off, you continue thinking, "For I am not one to impetuously scribble my name on muddy cards and send them off with no clear thought toward the consequence of my action. Nay, never! I shall readily give all that is asked of me, and more. But what, pray tell, shall that be? How can I serve when I am not privy to the principles and machinations of this Sturdy Beggar™ Appreciation Society? I GOT ME NO IDEAR WHAT THIS DANG MUDDY BEGGAR CLUB IS ALL ABOUT!!!"
What a devout flock of fledgling followers. So, you'd like to know what this little club is all about. Well, you're not alone, in fact, most, if not all, of our veteran mudder members would like to know as well.
All I can say is, beats me. I don't know. Nobody seems to know. None of us Sturdy Beggars™ have the slightest idea what we are doing with this thing. We had a big beggar Pow Wow the day after Thanksgiving to discuss the fan club and newsletter and the only dogmatical bone we chew for sure was the United States postal rates were about to go up a whomping 9.6%.
That's when it finally dawned on me. Not one of us, not one beggar, not one fan, not one outside opinionated columnist or talk show host knows what the Sturdy Beggar™ Appreciation Society represents. The impact of this revelation was so strong that I immediately doubled over with dry heaves of unity and pride. The fact that not one of us knows what the SBAS is, is all the proof I need to prove that I am part of the greatest fan club in the history of the world. Can you think of any other assemblage that assuredly shares such unanimous notions as this? With all of us not knowing what we are, or where we stand, we, beggars and members alike, thus achieve an unparalleled equality. An equality that many have fought and died for. An equality...dare I say it three times equality of unequivocal quality unequaled in the quantum quests and queries of quixotic quipsters.
So let us all valiantly continue to joyously rock in our credo: If we don't know what we are doing, we can't screw anything up. Like my kindergarten professor always told me, "no brain, no headaches." Whatever that means.
Billy Billy vonBilly

And the winner of this issue's "Guest Columnist" Contest is none other than Mud Maiden, age 12, of Portsmith, RI, with her column, "Moving Sorrow." We beggars, being quite transitory ourselves, could easily relate to Mud Maiden's thesis on the difficulty of always having to try to fit in. Over the years we've found that just being ourselves is the best way to make new friends. Oh, sometimes people will stare and point at us, but those who take the time to get to know us are the ones worth knowing.

Moving Sorrows
by Mud Maiden
I think that moving to a new city & state is harder on the kids than parents. The kids have to go to new schools, make more friends, and adjust to the new area.
I have moved 6 times and I am in the 7th grade. That's almost 1 time every year.
When you move, you have to be able to find a way to fit in. That is not easy at all.
I think one of the hardest moves is during the school year. That makes it very tough.
There are some advantages, though. You meet new people, make more friends, and learn about the cities and towns you live in or near. But kids, always remember,
It's hard on parents too.
Congratulations, Mud Maiden, on winning our first "Guest Columnist" Contest. Who will the next lucky winner be? Remember, 300 words or less. Also feel free to enter our new "Guest Cartoonist" Contest. (Entries = unreturned donations, dig?)

A Child's Groundhog Day In Oahu

Part II: Enter Punchy
Dudes! What's shaking?! Wakka Ding Hoy here, with another saga of them Golden Groundhog Days of yore! Yep, last year's episode went over so big time with the editor dudes that they insisted I write another one..."Just as soon as hell freezes over and we have a Republican Congress," were Hack's exact words. So you can thank The Eagles and the gullibility of the American people for this feature. Or you can thank me, I don't mind.
You may recall not much was happening on Groundhog Day, since we like didn't have any Groundhogs. We'd surf and eat that poi, boy, much like any other day. I'd also hang some with my bro Punchy. That dude was something, man. He'd walk right up to a Haoli (non-island guy), a drink in both hands, and say, "Hey, Tourist Guy, would you like a nice Hawaiian Punch?"
"Sure," the unsuspecting Haoli would answer.
"Blam!" went Punchy, decking the dude out cold. We'd then gleefully pick the guy's pockets, tie his shoelaces together and squirt papaya juice up his nose. This is a Traditional Island Greeting, one you seldom read about in the brochures, but one which makes island life richly rewarding. For us, at least.
That Punchy! What a dude, Guy! What a guy, Dude! But one fair morning he punched out the wrong touristo, a man with some serious juice of his own. The dude didn't want to press charges, he just wanted revenge, so next thing you know, ol' Punchy's in the States shilling some swill. Swell!
Hey, surf's up! Gots to go! Still haven't said much about Groundhog day in Oahu (ain't much to say) but at least you know the true story of an advertising legend! Later, Bro!

Wakka Ding Hoy Your Hawaiian Poi Boy Pal
Most of you know who we are, and from your letters and returned questionnaires we know who you are. But we figure, a lot of you don't know who you are. Or, to be more specific, you don't know who each other is. We have painstakingly compiled some stirring statistics from your application postcards, and after categorizing all the responses from the "Reason For Joining" segment, we would like to share our crunchy numbers with all of you. Behold what you are made of.
A lot of your reasons for joining are vast and kaleidoscopic, and defy any type of categorization, but don't worry, we were able to ram them all into some random little pigeonhole, from Squirrel, 18, of Osnabruck, Germany, who wisely informs us, "Bad taste is international," to Grover, 21, of Glen Burnie, MD, who sadly enlists because, "my life needs purpose," to T. Bear, 38, of Lyons, IL, who was only thinking of others as he joins, "to keep a tradition alive for future generations," to even little Skupper of Mud, 46, of Franklin, MA, who, well, he has his very special reason for desiring to muster: "intimate relations with Legs Akimbo."
Some reasons seemed to summarize it all. Maybe Magic Man, 55, of St. Jacob, IL, joins for the noblest of causes, "to help show the world that conflicts can be settled at the Mud Pit™," or maybe Pookie, 5, of Norwich, CT, saw the big picture the clearest with her penetrating rationale, "You're yucky."
Now take a good look at how the count crumbles...

  • 38% have exquisite taste and join because they love the Mud Show
  • 17% join for their zealous appreciation, stimulation, and/or titillation with mud.
  • 10% join with the definitive "why not," "because," and "none of your business" justifications.
  • 7% are your run-of-the-mill wild thrill seekers who join just for the "fun."
  • 7% join because they believe they share with us a philosophical ideology and regard their "place" being within this consecrated confederation.
  • 5% opened their eyes for the first time at a Mud Show as to what they believe to be their true life's calling.
  • 5% join up out of some sexual impulse.
  • 5% join for a potpourri of reasons, many of them being the common non-sequitur.
  • 3% fervently join up vocally diagnosing their "sickness."
  • 3% carefully neglected to fill in the blank.

After carefully scrutinizing these statistics, we Sturdy Beggars have assiduously drawn up our own "Contract For Whatever," which we pledge to promise as a testimony of our commitment toward what we now vow to be sacred.
Okay, here it is...
We do solemnly swear to devote 38% of our efforts to continue making our Mud Shows™ lovable, while devoting 17% of our enterprise to see to it that our mud fills everyone's expectations and/or desires. 10% of our undertaking will be vague and unsure, with a healthy 7% of our devotions going towards the projection of good clean "fun." Exactly 7% of our drudgery will be the extolling of utopian ideologies, and a good 5% of our sweat will be excreted in keeping our role model status intact. 5% of us will go towards miscellaneous and sundry practices, while another 5% will be devoutly devoted toward innuendo of the libidinous essence. A whole 3% of our attention will tend towards nurturing the sickos among you, and a full 3% of every action, word and deed we display will be fully committed to being resolutely blank.
That's our promise to you, our fans. Take it or leave it. We trust you.

Ground Hog Daze of My Youth
Ground Hog Daze of My YouthOne Feb. 2nd forever tattooed on my remaining brain cell, my parents left me in the care of one of my older brothers. I was 10 at the time, he 16. As I stood shaking, peeking out of the curtains and watching them drive away, a shadow of impending doom crept across the floor (no, it wasn't a groundhog's). As I turned, seeing no one, a voice echoed through the house "...SMOTHER..."
Having hit upon my worst fear, suffocation, my brother appeared, holding a pillow and grinning (a scene similar to a current-day politico who constantly pulls a plasticized document from his lapel and STICKS IT IN YOUR FACE!) My feet froze as he pushed me down and stuck the pillow over my face. He pulled it away long enough to ask, "Can you breath?" I'd suck in a quick breath of air before the pillow descended...again...and again and again.
I've often wondered why he did this - was it Groundhogs Day? Something in the drinking water? (no, the local nuke plant hadn't been built yet). Or, was it the whiskey he had stashed in his room? Whatever the reason - it made me what I am today.
Love & kisses,
Lutilah Fairdinkum (aka in Chicago & Des Moines as Randy Passions and/or Sir Osis of Liver)
A Groundhog Day Afternoon
by Legs Akimbo
O.K., O.K., I'll try to talk about it...if you...think that it will do some GOOD. But as you can probably SEE, it makes me very nervous...'Cause, it's just that this whole time of YEAR is...not easy for me...what with...the SNOW and the lack of FOOD and the LIGHT depriVATION and the snowblowers and snowmobiles ROARing along just when I'd stopped dreaming about the Panzerish LAWN tractors. (shudder) Can I have a tissue?
Please let's try not to leap to the conclusion that I am delusional. I's, it's documented as COMmon KNOWledge that the winter months will produce this effect on those like myself, but I ALSO know that I get MORE than usually icky and catatonic when it gets cold out. Oh, I'm either IRRITABLE and barely moving or more likely I'm practically COMATOSE or at any rate USELESS and junk food-riddled, watching daytime fergoshsakes COMMERCIAL T.V....for the dysFUNCtional and the unemPLOYED...and oh I could just's just so...(shudder, sigh, HONK)
This, I ASSURE you, goes on for MONTHS at a time; me barely moving a muscle from, say, after the pumpkin pie is served at Thanksgiving until...this whole "EXPECTATION" thing, you see..."February SECOND," they say, "that's the big DAY," they say. You think that PARENTS can lay a trip on you, try the meteorological COMMUNITY. OH...I'm getting hives...
Yet OH, you can bet your little buckTEETH that come Feb. it rain, shine or impending CONTRACT negotiations...all those annoying WEATHER persons and, forgive me, TURISTOS will show up outside my hole with their cameras ready to POP POP POP and their, "OOH, what's he gonna SEE? and what do we MAKE of what he sees?" and HEY, y'know, SOMEtimes after 3 months of nappin' MAYBE you feel that you'd like to step outside WITHOUT the benefit of an audience...And for WHAT...some hoodoo about my SHADOW? (I dunno, but I think that SOME of these people need to get out in the sun a little LESS often) anyway, and THIS is what really sits me up with the small-mammal COLD SWEATS: I'll finally get to this point where I say,"NO! this year I'm NOT going out there. I won't give them the PLEASURE. They can't know the torture that it is TO BE ME."
ANYway it doesn't MATTER because then...IT happens: One moment I'm sitting there with my righteous indignation and everything intact and then, suddenly...I'm not sure that I can HEAR them - my adoring public, as it were. What if they've decided NOT to trust me this year and are off staring down some WOMBAT'S burrow instead? I want to be strong but ultimately I'm so small and furry and egoTIStical that after some few rounds of wrestling with myself I lose or I win...and it's up and out of the hole. The crowds go WILD. I feel cheap...but loved. And everything's all right again until...Valentine's Day. I dunno, maybe I just never got over Mrs. Bemister's refusal to acknowledge the massive crush that I had on her in the 3rd grade. Was that FAIR? She could've SMILED, at least.....

Wakka Ding Hoy's Helpful Hints
Friends, for greater peace of mind and less stress in your step, please try to remember: Since something you misplaced will inevitably be in the last place you look, why not look there first? Spare yourself the aggravation, dude! While two wrongs don't make a right, Three lefts will. Truth, man, I've been there! Never do a sequel to something that didn't work the first time - like we really needed Meatballs II, man. (editors note: see this issues' Wakka article). I live my life by these rules. Shouldn't you?
W. D. Hoy

Hey, sturdy folks, feel free to write us about anything at all. Personal letters addressed to any of us will be delivered, eventually, probably. And hey, if you're moving & changing addresses or just want off our mailing list, PLEASE drop us a little 20 cent postcard with that information. Thanks.

that damn Muddy Rag #4 designed, edited & executed by Hack Ptui 1/95
Scribes du jour: B.B. vonBilly, W. D. Hoy, L. F. Dinkum, L. Akimbo, M. Maiden
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