Saturday, November 8, 2008

Political Dogma

"If President Kennedy would just go on television, and say, "I would like to introduce you to all the niggers in my cabinet," and if he'd just say "nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger" to every nigger he saw, "boogie boogie boogie boogie boogie," "nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger" 'til nigger didn't mean anything anymore, then you could never make some six-year-old black kid cry because somebody called him a nigger at school."
- Lenny Bruce
Lenny was being a bit outrageous, as he had a penchant for, but his idea is interesting. Perhaps Barack Obama was taking a page from Lenny's book when he held his first post-election press conference:
Obama made a remark as he revealed his thinking in what is becoming one of the highest-profile issues of this transition period: What kind of puppy will he and his wife, Michelle, get for their daughters as they move into the White House.
Because Malia, 10, has allergies, the family wants a low-allergy dog. But Obama said they also want to adopt a puppy from an animal shelter, which could make it harder to find a breed that wouldn't aggravate his daughter's problem.
"Obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me," Obama said with a smile. "So whether we're going to be able to balance those two things, I think, is a pressing issue on the Obama household."
Of course, Obama's mother was white and his father black, so the "mutt" remark drew a lot of attention and should no doubt bring a lot more. As for me, I am greatly looking forward to the next 4 years. I think I'm going to like Barack even more than I do already.
Of course, we're all mutts anyway, regardless of our race or what we believe is our heritage. If you trace us back long enough none of us are pure anything, really. So, take that all you [Ethnic] Americans who celebrate your made-up holidays and parade around like you're something special. You're not.
The latest government projections say that by 2042 less than half of America's population will be white, so there stands to be a lot more mutts running around. I suppose, if we're alive as a race of people long enough that we'll all be one homogeneous mass.
We'll just be ... people.
Won't that be nice?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Christmas in October

My neighbor has his Christmas tree up.
It was up two days ago. I'd like to cat burglar the joint and throw it in the trash with a little note that says: It isn't Thanksgiving yet, but I'll just leave it be. The trouble is, I have to look at it every day when I get home.
When I got to work on Monday morning, Christmas MUZAK was playing over the speaker. Thankfully, somebody complained and they switched it off because it takes three days to get a gun permit in New Jersey and I didn't have that kind of time.
Three weeks ago the Christmas junk was out at The Home Depot, which is probably where my neighbor got his plastic tree.
The commercialization of Christmas has crept back to Hallowe'en and it won't be long before it's back to Labor Day - the unofficial end of summer. I'm figuring a Sarah Palin presidency will bring that about, along with the end of civilization.
And we have this from Leesburg, Virginia on what turned out mercifully to be the end of the McCain/Palin onslaught:
"Sarah Oh-Twelve!" bellowed a man in field coat and jeans, one of several thousand at the Leesburg rally, when Palin spoke about her tax policies yesterday.
Oh-twelve? Sure, I'm willing to wait until 20,012 and if Sarah is still around by then, cryogenically preserved, I'm guessing. Then I'll be a staunch supporter. Honestly, if ... oh, never mind.
One of John McCain's advisers recently called his running mate Sarah Palin a "diva" after she went off-script at a rally, and suggested she was looking after her own political future over the current campaign. Now another adviser ups the ante in a conversation with the Politico's Playbook, labeling Palin a "whack job."
"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," a McCain adviser told CNN. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party."
Speaking as a Democrat, I'd say the Republican party and Sarah are a match made in heaven.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Onions turn clockwise.

It must suck to be one of those hard-line Republicans.
Like the final days of a failed marriage, they're realizing that their world is crashing down around them and the only thing that saved them from a complete disintegration on Tuesday was that there weren't more House and Senate seats up for grabs.
On the other hand, it feels great to be in Philadelphia these days.
The city and most of the region are as hard-line Democrat as it gets and we've finally managed to wave off the foul stench of loser that we've worn over the past 8 years or so.
Or the past 25 years if you're a sports fan. Just when we thought it couldn't get any better than the Phillies winning the World Series, Barack Obama goes and wins the election. Can life get any better? I submit that it cannot.
Just remember which way to turn your onions.

My gut reaction.

My father died in 1967. In those days, there was a lot of racial strife over issues like civil rights. Viewings and funerals I suppose, were different. I remember, in a sea of white faces of family and friends, one black man came to his viewing to pay his respects. He was a co-worker of my father and came over to this 9-year old to shake my hand and offer his condolences.
At the time, I was probably in some contorted state of emotional shock, but in the days that followed I came to realize that, in that small instance that people are the same in more ways than not.
My father wasn’t the type who treated people differently because of who they were. In fact, he taught me that I should treat everyone the same – whether they’re cleaning the toilets or running the place. That’s a valuable bit of knowledge to pass along to a child.
(In my adult years, upon speaking up to our company’s CEO, I related my father’s teachings to one of our Human Resources people and was told that “your father was wrong.” I needed to slug him but restrained myself)
I’ve lived my life with that attitude ringing around in my head, even though much of society doesn’t share it. My attitudes aren’t often in line with society, so I’ve come to accept my viewpoint as odd. It’s why I bristle at the attitude that certain people are special or above the law. We are in fact, a nation of laws, not a nation of men. But I digress.
Barack Obama was elected president last night. For a child of the early 60s, that’s quite an accomplishment. Maybe younger people don’t have the same background or feelings of accomplishment that those of us older folks have, but trust me, it’s a big deal.
At least once, we have allowed ourselves as a nation to see through a man’s color and put him in the highest office in the land. Granted, it wasn’t by a huge majority of votes, but neither were the last two elections. For people like me, it never was about electing a black man or, in Hillary’s case, a woman. It was about a man’s ideas and comportment. It was about bringing back a sense of pride in being an American. It was about shoving aside the old ideas and embracing new ones. It was about the man, not his skin.
I think my father would be proud.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

When you wish upon a star

It's 10:20 and I need some sleep.
CNN has run the numbers on that fancy electronic map that they play with and have not come up with a viable scenario in which John McCain can overcome his early deficit of electoral votes and win tonight.
So, I'm off to bed because I'm tired and a rested America is a strong America.
Besides, if I can't believe election projections with 15 percent of the votes counted, whom can I believe?
I'd better damned well be hearing "President-elect Barack Obama" when I wake up on Wednesday morning.
Otherwise, I'm going to have a lot more sleepless nights and tonight's early-in will have been for naught.

Here we go.

That's the projected map from Yahoo, a noted political web site. Never mind that the percentages don't add up to 100. That's math, and we aren't doing math. Isn't it surprising that the south would vote for an old white man?
If you follow this map, the key states are Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina and Florida. Sound familiar? It also sounds familiar that there remains the possibility that Obama could win the popular vote and lose the election. I think, if that happens they should stop calling it the popular vote. But that's for tomorrow.
As for today, I'll be at my local polling place bright and early (or at least early) casting my electronic ballot and hoping that they count them right. We're blue here in New Jersey, and Philadelphia is about as blue as they get, so I feel that my work here is done.
There will be stories about voter confusion, voters not being able to cast ballots because there aren't enough machines and machines that either don't work or aren't counted. Count on that. Meanwhile, I'll be asking why, in a country like ours that we can't all be using the same voting machine. It seems silly to me to ask America to cast ballots and have them counted by different methods. It's an act of Congress waiting to happen.
My fervent hope is that it's over early (a) so I can get to bed knowing what happened (b) and that the margin is so large that it's not contestable (c) Sarah Palin fades back into the Alaska night into Dan Quayle obscurity. She represents everything that is wrong with American politics and society - form over substance There ya go.
But then, the last two elections my fervent hopes have been dashed, so I'm not counting any chickens.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The little things.

I saw this sign on Broad Street on the way to the ballpark on Friday. I wondered how much the boots cost after they were gone. I would think that the price goes up drastically. I think about crap like that.
Baseball diamonds aren't diamonds - they're 90-foot squares. I don't know why they're called diaminds. I guess because it sits on one corner, unless you're sitting along the baselines, in which case you could clearly see it is a square. Diamonds don't have 90-degree angles. "Baseball square" sounds strange.
At the Alice Cooper concert on Saturday night, I wore one of my red Phillies t-shirts because, well ... anyway, I started to notice that I was one of about 3 people wearing something brightly colored. The rest of them were in some sort of grey, black or muted color that made me think that there were a lot of wanna-be goths in the crowd. I'm a trailblazer.
I walked around the condo in alternating states of panic and serenity all day Sunday when I looked at a clock and then realized that it was an hour fast. The only ones I could count on were the cable box and the computer. I'm lazy with the clock-change bit. I was confused most of the day. Mostly, what it means is that it will be dark when I get home from work.
Lots of great ad campaigns have come and gone, yet we're still seeing those Geico cavemen. Don't they realize how out of place they are in society? And why are they so angry?
Frogmouth Chris Berman is going to interview Barack Obama and John McCain at half time of Monday night's football game. When I saw that ad, I thought it was a joke because, well ... I just hope he doesn't work in those idiotic nicknames he shouts during the broadcast. Barack "and roll" Obama and John "I'm so old I need a" McCain.
Finally - tomorrow is Election Day. I'm a tiny bit afraid - OK, I'm very afraid. I fear the same sort of nonsense we endured the last 2 elections, with voter fraud, bad machines, long lines and the antiquated Electoral College - don't get me started on that. So, arrive early and if you vote your conscience, there shouldn't be any problems.
Here is a fisheye photo for Kimmy from Friday's Phillies festivities, because I know Kimmy loves the fisheye

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My day so far.

Today, I underwent the shopping equivalent of a full-body cavity search - buying printer cartridges.
I'm one of these lucky people who has a printer with 6 cartridges - 5 color and 1 black, which they tell me is a color. That's like "off" listed as a blender speed - but I digress. The bastards are less than a half-inch wide and probably hold a teaspoon of ink. If I print 3 CDs and a concert ticket I'm off to Staples for more ink. It's a scam, I tell ya.
The cartridges come in vacuum-sealed plastic bags, like they're going into space or something. If that isn't bad enough, I took the recently emptied cartridges to Staples to have them recycled, and the kid at the counter told me "We don't take Epson," like the ink was made from radium or something. When I asked him why, of course he didn't know. Somebody from Staples, leave a comment and tell me why. I'm losing sleep here.
Then, I took the car for a bath. The thing that fascinates me about the automated car was is that (a) the kid that drives the car the twelve feet from the jet blowers to the end of the driveway has to move the seat and (b) when I get in, the car smelled like the kid who drove the car twelve feet. It's the Seinfeld valet B.O. episode. I'm driving around now in a car that smells like a car wash attendant. I don't know what I have to do to get that smell out. Maybe I'll let the cat sit in there for a half hour? I'd rather the car smelled like him.
Usually, I don't like to move the car on the weekends, but I've found that I can't take it to be washed if I don't move it out of the parking lot. I think this is the first weekend in 6 months that I drove the car both days.
Last night a friend treated me to an Alice Cooper show in Atlantic City. I looked it up. Alice is 60 years old, which I figure roughly equals the combined age of the other members of his band. The show was OK. He has a lot of new material, but he played the old songs too, although they had that modern grunge/distorted guitar/wall of sound deal that modern guitar players seem to like. One of them changed guitars on every song, which I thought was either showing off or just plain silly. From the viewpoint of a former player, I'd guess it was showing off.
It wasn't the greatest show I've ever seen, but I did find the part where he slaps a woman around for 6 minutes a little uncomfortable. It turns out it's his daughter, which doesn't make it right, but at least he's keeping the brutality in the family. When I found out the tickets were $57, I might have changed my opinion. I guess Alice charges by the year.
Meanwhile, here's a little video entertainment for you. It's the Wednesday post-game celebration in Philadelphia after the Phillies won the championship. A young fan discovers the peril of climbing on traffic lights.