Literal coffee and metaphorical foodstuffs.

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Yesterday was the day before Election Day.  I told one of my friends, “Don’t lose any sleep over it.”  It was one of those comments that I felt was unnecessary, even as I said it.  After all, who really loses sleep over Election Day?  It’s a big deal, yes, but it’s not Christmas Eve or anything.  Well, last night I could not fall asleep.  When sleep did come, it was a restless kind, filled with dreams about voting and democracy which would seem like a pleasant enough thing to dream about except it’s so unlike my normal dreaming patterns that it felt like I wasn’t asleep at all.  I think I tossed and even turned.  I woke up earlier than I normally do and listened to my AM radio with tired ears as Joy Cardin discussed voter anxiety with her guest, a clinical psychologist.  Did I have voter anxiety?  Am I more nervous about this election than I let myself, and others, believe?

Or maybe my sleeplessness had more to do with a recent addition to my diet: Coffee.  For 26 years I went  without drinking coffee, with exceptions here and there, of course.  Like beer, it’s been an acquired taste, and like beer, I wonder if it’s really worth acquiring a taste for.  But here I’ve gone and started the process.  Anyway, big deal, that’s hardly news.  But there is no news.  There is nothing really significant going on in the news today, ho hum…

Just kidding.  We’re going to get a new president!

On my way to my polling place this morning I was thinking about the two-party system that many are frustrated with.  I can understand their frustrations, but I’m still pitching my tent in the camp that feels a 3rd party vote is ultimately a vote for “the-other-guy” (whoever the other guy may be in your political views).  People with stronger convictions than myself will say, “I can’t vote for a candidate who doesn’t represent the full range of my beliefs.”  But will such a candidate ever exist?  The only way to really find that candidate is to run yourself for office.  If we broke down the two-party system and had fair representation of every possible combination of beliefs there would be such a mess of candidates, and in the end we would still elect someone that only a select few agreed with completely.  Is it really choosing the lesser-of-two-evils to settle on a candidate that represents a majority of the values of a majority of voters?

I thought of it this way, this morning: When you are invited to a wedding you usually have a choice between two dinner options.  Although the restaurant probably has dozens of delicious entrees available, on the night of a wedding it would be complete chaos to feed every guest their individual preferences (especially when you get down to the finely detailed special orders… dressing on the side please, and hold the olives!)  Sometimes, for the sake of the Wedding we must simplify things.  So yeah, maybe I would have preferred the duck l’orange, but the chicken marsales was more widely palatable.  So I chose the chicken marsales, because I don’t like salmon.

And if you really, really can’t stand the options, you can just go to the restaurant next door!  In this case that would be Canada.  Don’t you love analogies?

Can Barack fix this country after wrecking my car?

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Well, I made it through most of the day before I realized that I was wearing my shirt backwards. I suppose that is some kind of achievement, isn’t it?

Last night I went with some friends to see Barack Obama at the Kohl Center. I will skip right to the injustice of the evening, in which I was rear-ended while navigating the mess of traffic in search of parking. That in itself, the minor accident, was not the injustice. The injustice was that the woman who drove her car into the back of mine was seen once again later that evening, on the Jumbotron, shaking Barack’s hand. Smiling her face off. As if she hadn’t just hours earlier cracked bumpers with a girl sitting much higher in the stands, much further from the man who could be President and without any chance of a handshake.

But the car is okay, it seems, and the woman was apologetic and very friendly, and mostly I owe her a big “thank you” that I actually have something to write about now. Heaven knows the rally itself wasn’t noteworthy. Well okay that was obviously a joke, because in case you have been living in a cage, nobody is more exciting than Barack Obama these days. I’ve never been to see a politician speak before (unless you count the time that Russ Feingold spoke at Spaight’s Plaza when it was cold and rainy and windy and the speakers blew over and I left early because I was offended by the weather and a few of his talking points), let alone a presidential candidate, let alone a man with so much energy behind his message. Is Barack Obama sincere? I’m pretty convinced he is. Can Barack Obama deliver on all of his promises? Probably not all of them. Can Barack Obama give a good speech? See for yourself:


(I didn’t shoot this video. We were sitting on Barack’s right, in the first balcony.) So what you’re really wondering is, will I vote for him?  Well, that is what I’m wondering too.  Maybe?  I could certainly like to listen to him give more speeches.  Although I should prepare you, I have no plans to broadcast my final political choice here, so keep a’movin’, pokes.  I learned that from Elizabeth.  Want to know who I’m voting for on Tuesday?  Ask me.

Politicians and potholes.

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Now that Mitt Romney has dropped out of the race I guess it’s decided: Barack Obama is the last handsome candidate remaining and therefore I must cast my ballot in his favor. Hm. Good grief, you know I’m always kidding about this, right? (And for the record, I was never planning to vote for Mitt Romney, even if he is a stud). I’ve actually spent some time these days trying to learn more about these folks who would be President and I am a little bit torn. Who is the best, really? At one point I was sure it was Obama, but maybe not? Maybe I’ve just been caught up in the hype? It’s exciting to think that Wisconsin’s primary might actually matter this year. In the week preceding our election they will all come to our fine state talking sweet, but who will really bring change? Who will get us out of Iraq? Who will make health care affordable to all Americans? Who will pay attention to the poor and hungry, both in our country and in the world? And who will fix these potholes???

I’ve never seen so many potholes in my life–this winter has not been kind to our roads. Yesterday we got over a foot of snow. We are one inch away from the record snowfall and only halfway through winter. We are one pothole away from the record also, and I think that one of these days while driving, my car might fall into one and that will be the end of me. Politics won’t even matter, I’ll be dead or at least lost forever, swallowed up by the crumbling asphalt. Who will I vote for then? Who will vote at all, once we’ve all disappeared into these potholes?

Oh, and one more “P”. Persepolis has finally come to a theater near me! I have been waiting a long time for this! [youtube=]

The real problem with the United States.

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

We have North Dakota and South Dakota, North Carolina and South Carolina, we have West Virginia, but no where in our Union is there a state representing the cardinal direction of East. To amend this tragic oversight I propose we rename Michigan to East Wisconsin. While this change is taking place I propose we absorb Upper Michigan into Wisconsin, which should have been done a long time ago. Who could object? We love da Yoopers and I hear they kind of like us also, and they don’t even touch the mass of Lower Michigan who tends to look down on its peninsula anyway. I hope that our new President, whoever he or she may be, will consider these changes. Thank you.

This election we will sing.

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

I’ve recently turned the dial on my clock radio a bit so instead of waking up to the noncommittal fuzz of the space between AM radio stations (which is surprisingly soothing) I wake up to NPR. Boring, I know. Well, I can be a bore. Anyway, this morning was, of course, the morning after the Iowa Caucuses, and while I went to sleep last night unsure of who would emerge victorious, I was coaxed out of sleep by the strangely melodious chant of “Obama! Obama! Obama!” Only it wasn’t just an excited crowd of college students, it was a chorus. And it sounded like that moment in Evita when the masses are worked nearly into a frenzy chanting their heroine’s pet name in heavy, cascading minor chords. Can you imagine it? Just like in Evita, the effect of this chant made me slightly uneasy. Not that I wasn’t as tickled as the next person to hear that Hillary had come in third. Remember, Barack made my Voting-Based-On-Looks top 3. I guess I can’t talk about that outside of Superficial Mondays, can I? I guess what this means is it might be time for me to start looking at what various candidates actually stand for. I can’t promise that I’ll have anything terribly intelligent to say about the election at any point during this campaign season, although I have been trying to stay informed.

I probably make genuine political bloggers cringe.