Sunday, November 28, 2010

Palin 1, Halibut 0

and other random thoughts

Madam Palin

I watched the premiere of Sarah Palin's Alaska show the other night.  Sounds like a lot of people did, then didn't (the ratings dropped over 40% for episode two). 

I love the outdoors and have never been to Alaska, so I tuned in and found it mildly interesting.  Problem is there are shows on all the time about Alaska and other Arctic locales.  Hunt one day, fish the next.

I understand Whalin Palin pummelled a halibut in week 2.  Sorry I missed that.  It should make a good campaign ad.  But for who?

It's all about 2012 right?  She's already made not so subtle hints (as subtle as a two by four to the skull) about running for president. 

Sarah Palin is the Notre Dame of politics.  There's no middle ground.  Either you love her or think she's Beelzebub. 

And Sarah Inc. is a profitable gig, with best selling books, paid speeches at say, 50 grand a pop and a well paid, friendly megaphone at Fox News.  

I'm not sure what to think of her politically and wonder why she would run given her current role where  she controls every aspect of her message and yields significant influence.  And if she does run, has she peaked too soon?  How many dancing bears or daughters are left to watch?  Gotta say though, the only people happier at the prospect of her running than Republicans are Democrats.  The next 18 months promise to be good theater.

And if you haven't already, check out this Robert Draper piece in the New York Times Magazine:

Pat Downs and Body Scans

I remember when the Hare Krishnas were the biggest "personal space invaders" at airports.  Now we have so-called pat downs and full body scans. 

Not sure why we aren't taking notes from the Israelis, who have arguably the world's toughest airport security without pats or scans. 

I imagine the new policies will be modified, and hopefully won't extend to train stations and buses.  One of my close friends is fond of saying Americans have too many freedoms.   Is he right?

Giving Thanks

Speaking of freedoms....A few weeks ago we walked out of Mass where our local Congresswoman was shaking hands a couple of days before the mid-term elections. 

A nice woman who has served our district for many years.  We said hello and were on our way.  While walking home my son 12 year-old son asked, "Are you going to vote for her?"  "Not sure," I said, which was the truth.  His next question struck me.  "If you are going to vote for her," he said,  "why would you shake her hand?"   

"Because she's a member of Congress,"  I said, "and she is serving our country.  You need to respect that whether you vote for her or not."

People have rioted for less.  I think back to the 2000 presidential race and the ballot controversies.  That's it, controversies.  No coup, no contra insurgence. 

Our peaceful process and results, then and now, are the envy of other nations.  Jimmy Carter has made a post- presidential career observing foreign elections. 

I'm thankful we live, peacefully, in a free country.   God bless those who watch over us, here and abroad.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

5 by 25

I celebrated an important anniversary last week. 

I know, they're all important.  But this one had me reflecting quite a bit.

5 years ago last week I stood with my children and married an amazing woman. 

Tania is amazing.  Not perfect, but amazing.  A beautiful, gifted woman with a huge heart, who sees me for who I am (and more importantly who I am not).  Someone to share hopes and dreams. Together we are a living sacrament. 
Marriage isn't something I pictured happening after a painful divorce.

"Painful divorce."  How redundant. 

Nobody wants a divorce, and in terms of pain, I am reminded of an exchange between Walter Mondale and George McGovern, the latter having badly lost a presidential bid in 1972. 

"How long until I get over this?" a down Walter Mondale asked George McGovern in the wake of his presidential loss in 1984, to which McGovern responded, "I'll let you know."

The image that often came to mind was of a soldier walking through a devastated village.  The sun is on the horizon; You can see it but can't grasp it.  But the light is there, which in my case is two amazing children, family and friends. 

The light is there, and you need to persevere.  Life doesn't come with a built in GPS.  Usually when I expect a layup I get hammered in the lane. 
Sometimes you strike gold. 

Along with a being a wonderful wife and step mom Tania has given me two gorgeous little girls.  Girls so precious they stop traffic.  As for their teenage years, I have been advised more than once to get a gun.

Parenting again is fun and I have remembered a few things such as:

- Teletubbies are so 20th century
- Dreft and changing tables are for chumps
- How to pace back and forth like a cougar in order to induce sleep
- The art of falling asleep in a room full of kids, or before my head hits the pillow

Which brings me to 25.
For years I have trekked off to the pool, park or library for quality family time. 

More than 10 years worth. 

A decade of runny noses, t-ball, raging hormones and sugar highs.

And I've got many more years to go. 

By the time my infant daughter becomes a teenager I will have put in over 25 years.  Instead of a gold watch I'm hoping for a silver cane.

Bifocal Dads - unite!

A few years ago there was a mostly forgettable movie starring Chris Rock called "I Think I Love My Wife." If you haven't seen it I'll save you 4 bucks - he does. 

I know I love my wife...and my life. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dogbert Dogma

Thoughts on the midterm elections:

On the national front it's hard to deny the big, sweeping change.  A Republican romp, two years after  Democrats swept into power. 

I have heard seen commentary about angry pols "voting against Democrats, not for Republicans." 

Is this supposed to make Dems feel better?  If your girlfriend dumps you for a weaselly, two bit mope who lives with his Mama, do you feel better? 

Not so much, and I'm not buying it.  What I am buying is that voters are fed up with leaders spending money like drunken sailors (an insult to sailors,  of course, who are spending their own money). 

And it appears moderation has gone the way of break dancing, with the fringe elements of both parties making the biggest gains.  The Tea Party made quite a splash, while moderates got shown the door. 

The Tea Party had a big impact, no question.  But are they for real, and who will emerge in 2012?  A more important question might be which sitting member of Congress switches to the Tea Party, and when?   The current cast of Tea Party characters needs to return to the Romper Room. 

I enjoyed the column below, which makes the case that the Tea Party movement is more about karma than anger or liberty:

The near term election result is a couple years of gridlock.  

Americans like gridlock.  Think of the Dilbert principle - companies (voters) tend to promote their most ineffective people (politicians) quickly where they can do the least amount of harm. 

To quote Dogbert, "Leadership is nature's way of removing morons from the productive flow."

Speaking of morons, how about Tea Party candidate Carl Paladino?  Granted, there are loons in any election season, but Paladino belongs on the Mount Rushmore of wacky baby kissers. 

The guy came out of nowhere to win the New York gubernatorial primary, a business owner with no experience in politics or life outside a cave.  Then, in the span of five months, Paladino managed to:

- Threaten to "rub out" a columnist who exposed his child fathered ten years ago as a result of an extramarital affair with a co-worker
- Acknowledge sending sexually explicit, homophobic and racist emails to friends and co-workers
- Referred to New York Senator Kristin Gillibrand as (Senator Chuck) "Schumer's little girl"
- Wield a baseball bat during his concession speech and promise we haven't heard the last of him

In Illinois we had Tony Peraica, a canidate for Cook County Commissioner who was arrested for damaging his opponent's yard signs, in the middle of the night dressed in all black.  The kicker?  Peraica was arrested in the town of McCook, who's Mayor is Jeff Tobolski.  Tobolski was Peraica's opponent.

Tobolski won. 

Politics is a contact sport.