Friday, November 14, 2008

Obama Report: More Questionable Connections

Forget about Bill Ayers, the ex-Weatherman-turned-education-professor, the Republicans would have really had a field day with Barack Obama's questionable connections if they had known about his association with Arcola's infamous Lawn Rangers.

The Lawn Rangers were the inspiration of Pat Monahan (whom Dave Barry once called the second-funniest man in America) way back in the early 1980s. Clayton Moore, the actor who played the Lone Ranger, was making an appearance at Arcola's Broomcorn Festival, a festival nominally dedicated to honoring Arcola's heritage as the "Broomcorn capital of the world." (I say "nominally" because like most small town festivals, it is more of an excuse for vendors to hawk greasy foods and drunks to hang out in a beer tent.) The whole idea of having Clayton Moore appear in Arcola wearing wrap-around sun glasses because of trade mark and copyright issues with the famous mask is pretty funny in itself. Monahan invented the Lawn Rangers to march in the parade that year as a precision lawn mower drill team, spoofing Clayton Moore and the Shriners who typically drive little cars and motorcycles in parades.

Dave Barry, the syndicated columnist and humorist, got interested in Arcola and the silliness of the Lawn Rangers and started coming to the Broom Corn Festival and carousing with the Lawn Rangers many years ago. He wrote about his first appearance in 1991 here. He has another column about the appearance of the moon at Ranger rookie camps here.

The picture above comes from Barry's blog, where he states that Obama appeared as a Lawn Ranger in 2003 when he was a little known state senator and the Rangers were in Chicago to march in the St. Patrick's Day parade.

You can watch a six-minute documentary about the Lawn Rangers featuring the infamous Pat Monahan by clicking below.

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