Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Unwelcome Candidate

For the past couple of months I've been writing to the Hillary Clinton Campaign for President (via their Contact Us page) about once a week to suggest that it is time for her to give up the fight. I have no illusion that she will listen to my plebian voice, nor even that she will personally ever read my messages. Nonetheless, I endeavor to present compelling and concise arguments detailing why she should cease and desist from her crusade. I do hope, however, that whatever zealous staffer reads my missives is, at least a little bit, demoralized by it -- by hearing from those of us with kindred values that we decry her distracting efforts. It's time, Ms. Clinton, to let the spotlight illuminate your distinguished colleague from Illinois.

I have given time, my voice and cash money to the Barack Obama campaign and I regret it not, but in recent days I've also begun to wonder if there might be a more efficient use of that cash portion of my support, paltry as it is. My meager funds are a mere tumbler-full in the tide and, particularly at this ebb in the process, that is, between locking up the nomination and beginning his deconstruction of the candidate from the other major party, I am inclined to think that small donations might make more difference to a fledgling campaign. The newly announced national candidate of whom I'm thinking, is likely, in my estimation, to take votes away from the Republican candidate, particularly in the South. While votes that swing from Republican to Libertarian are only half as good as those that swing from there to Democratic in this year, they may be considerably more than twice as easy to move. I'm referring to Bob Barr, former U.S. Congressman from Georgia and freshly minted nominee from the Libertarian Party. Give it some thought, won't you?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Of Radishes and Presidents

Our row of radishes grew from dirt to food, from seed to leafy leftovers, and still Barack and Hillary raced on. Three weeks from first watering to first nibbling, a double row about 5 feet long flourished while there wasn't so much as a primary, until Pennsylvania broke the drought. They were the usual mixed success (the radishes, not the candidates, I find Obama unusual, in a good way), about half went to all green with barely a bulge below ground, most of the others were small, from dime sized to about quarter sized, with only a couple growing any bigger and not much even then. But I ate any that rounded, 3 or more dozens. My family cares for them not. In any case they are gone now, and the peas are starting. Not enough for a pot, or even soup, but enough to crack a pod or two and share the sweet contents with the kids. By the time the first tomato turns red our candidate from Illinois will be ripened on to his own competition with the Republican presumptive nominee. I'm looking forward to both.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sweet Home Scotland

Tonight I saw a new movie in a rather sparsely attended theater. The film is a Patrick Dempsey vehicle, a bit of a chick flick, Made of Honor. He gets to be the MOH, i.e. the Maid of Honor, to his (so far) platonic girl friend. The gender reversal unexpectedly provides some decent laughs. And some of the Scottish scenery is gorgeous, I'm thinking it might be worth a visit. But what I kept thinking through the film is that this storyline isn't really closest to My Best Friend's Wedding, the Julia Roberts romp where she tries to spoil her long time friend's wedding, but more like another Dempsey film, Sweet Home Alabama, but in that one he's the hapless newcomer in a long term boy-girl friendship with Reese Witherspoon as the leading lady. Pleasant enough if you have someone to share it with, as I did. (BTW, beware of Kevin Sussman in MOH, he steals at least a corner of the show as "Tiny Shorts Guy".)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Best Ex-VP and Obama for your Stocks

I've said that Jimmy Carter is the best ex-President of my lifetime, now I'm thinking that Al Gore is our best ex-Vice President. Not that he has a whole heckuvalot of competition.

I was never a big Al Gore fan while Bill Clinton was in office, nor while he was running for President, but I finally watched his movie this weekend, An Inconvenient Truth. I tend to steer away from this type of films, like I haven't seen any of Michael Moore's films since Roger and Me. (I know someone with an editting credit on that one, though he doesn't show up on IMDB.) They tend to make my blood boil or make me feel like I'm wasting my career, or both. But I watched and it was compelling, and somniferous at the same time. Al Gore himself is the dull part, although there are spotty bits of true humor. His presentation though is strong. Like comparing the current denials and "balanced reporting" on global warming to the counter-propaganda of 40 years ago from the cigarette companies. He debunks the "balance" with facts like that in a survey of 968 peer reviewed scientific papers on global warming, exactly zero of them found that humans were not a cause. That, yes, there have been historic "warm" periods as recently as the middle ages, but there has never been carbon dioxide at its current level in the atmosphere, never above 300 parts per million, it's currently above 370 ppm. Ouch. And he squeezes the current administration on twisting the arms of scientists and editting their reports. That's something I hope the next White House reverses.

Which leads me to point at an interesting editorial from Ken Fisher, a self made billionaire and fiscal conservative who sees an Obama Presidency as not necessarily bad for Wall Street in his latest article (since these tend to disappear after a few weeks, here's the salient quote: "First, years in which Democrats capture the White House are usually bullish years for the stock market. Second, inaugural years following a Democratic win in November are better than Republican inaugural years.")

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

To Kill a Butterfly

The other day, mid-morning, I was walking between buildings on the campus where I work and I chanced to observe a mockingbird in very erratic flight. It caught my eye and I stopped walking to watch. It was chasing a smallish yellow butterfly, trying to mimic the halting, bouncy pattern of the insect. The bird was not graceful, but it was skillful, and they lowered toward the ground as the tumbling bird closed the distance. It managed to knock the butterfly to the ground, I think with its wing, not so much on purpose as that that just happened to be the appendage that made contact. It quickly snapped the butterfly out of the grass. I didn't think that birds often ate butterflies (I'd heard they taste bad), much less that they pursue them in flight. This one sure did. It flew off more normally, consuming its lunch on the way.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Post It!

Last month my wife and I participated in the River City Run, she won the Women's Masters division of the 10K race and was awarded the nice platter in this picture along with a box full of the other stuff in the picture -- all from 3M who was a major sponsor. I managed second place in my age division, winning the "invisible man" trophy seen here.

Monday, May 05, 2008

BOb', the President

As you likely know, "W" is the cutesy, ultra-short nickname for our current President. On the eve of the next primaries to end this quadrennial's primary season I'm getting worn out with the long names and the false formalities; I'm wondering if we could just call Barack Obama BOb'. It's sort of like HyperActive Bob -- a generic American name for a complex individual. HyperActive Bob is the flagship product from my old company, HyperActive Technologies (foolishly they have an anti-linking policy so you'll have to do your own search to see what they sell at HaT (see, they have one of those oddly capitalized ultra-short nicknames and it serves me well when I reference them)).

Here's hoping that Obama rolls through Indiana and North Carolina and we can move on to the next phase of this biathlon, defeating the incumbent party.