Pick a Rose (Parade) Favorite? Oh So Hard…

THE THEMES: We staunchly believe that more events need themes, mottos, tag lines, something to build the day around. The Rose Parade always has a catchy one -- the 2009 theme is "Hats Off to Entertainment" -- and we like to see how it might play out in the choice of a float design and grand marshal. Speaking of that esteemed guest...

THE GRAND MARSHAL: Again, couldn't more things -- your next staff meeting, for example -- benefit by the inclusion of a grand marshal? Someone who has made a significant contribution to an important field and who will get crowds crowing? The president of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses always makes inspired choices in this department. Kermit the Frog, a grand marshal from the 1990s, still remains the (green) apple of our eye. William Shatner was one. So was Shirley Temple, thrice. And many judges, politicians, and Mickey Mouse, too.

THE NATURAL ANGLE: We'll never get over that each gigantic float is fully covered with zillions -- kajillions? -- of flower bits, petals, seeds, crunchy little leafy pod things and other rather small odds 'n ends that grew from the ground. How? We expect time, persistence, patience, and devotion to the larger picture might be involved. Oh, and oodles of artistic zing.

THE WHITE-SUIT VOLUNTEERS: Ubiquitous, courteous and always busy, busy, busy, the well-known "white suits" of the Rose Parade do just about everything save make the initial kick-off at the Rose Bowl. Most of all, they keep a major production running smoothly and they do it gratis. Nice.

THE HUGE ROSE HUNG ON THE NORTON SIMON: It just cheers us, and it really reminds everyone watching at home that yes, the parade is happening live in Pasadena. We'd love it if they left it up all year long. In fact, more flowers everywhere all the time, we say.

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