Friday, August 29, 2008

A Hail Mary from the Republicans. . .

The future president?

Or, should we just say "Hail Sarah"?

John McCain just chose the former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population 9,000, Sarah Palin, as his running mate. Palin has been governor of Alaska for a couple of years.

Before that. . .well, she held a couple of state offices in Alaska. She is pro-life, pro-death penalty, pro-drilling, and likes hockey. She's an NRA member. She's good looking, too (some have referred to her as a VPILF), and has five kids and a husband who likes to race snow mobiles.

In other words, she's a perfect Vice Presidential choice to go toe-to-toe with Joe Biden in the fall campaign.

Way to go, McCain. I'm sure he's winning over huge blocks of undecided voters with this choice. Probably secured a lock on Alaska's electoral college votes. Probably cemented the NRA vote with this. Likely won over the pro-lifers.

Hmmm. I'd guess most of these people were already figuring on voting for McCain.

I guess the McCain camp gives women so little credit that they'd think the disgruntled PUMA Clinton supporters will flock over to the Republican side just because the veep candidate is a woman. Which is really insulting to women, if you think about it.

By choosing Palin, I'd guess that any talk by the McCain campaign about Obama's inexperience can go by the wayside. Brilliant strategy: take away one of your best arguments against the Democrat.

Palin's experiential predecessor. . .

Some folks are comparing Palin's choice to Bush I choosing Dan Quayle, or Mondale choosing Geraldine Ferraro--a desperate hail-mary choice.

I think of it as more like Ross Perot's choice of James Stockdale, he of the "who am I? what am I doing here?"

This should be interesting. To pull a small-town mayor and short-time governor of one of our most rural, isolated, and least-populated states and offer he as being a heartbeat away from the presidency of what we consider the greatest country on earth either shows incredible naivete, an amazing amount of faith that God won't let McCain die in the next four years, or stupidity.

But, since it's the Republicans making this call, we know which of the three options is in play here.


Late Night update, No. 1: Did ya catch the clip of that boob Doocy on Fox News saying that Palin has foreign policy experience with Russia because they're next door neighbor? Best blogger responses: "Does that mean if she stand's next to McCain eventually she'll get POW experience as well?" and "So, I live next to Cape Canaveral--does that make me a rocket scientist?"

Late Night update, No. 2: Anchorage readers responding on line to the news via the Anchorage Daily News website are all atwitter at an upcoming photograph of the McCain and Palin families together for People magazine. . . showing an apparently quite-pregnant 16-year-old daugher, Bristol. God, it's sounding like a reality television show together: The Veep. A governor and mother of five deals with her husband's adjustment to big-city life in Washington D.C., raising an infant son with Down's syndrome and a newborn grandaugher, and an ethics investigation back home, while juggling a crash-course in foreign policy and the rough-and-tumble world of national presidential campaigns.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Democrats and Grass. . .

Is it just me, or are political conventions of little consequence anymore? When I was a kid, hell, they were knock-down, drag-out battles. Smoky room deals late into the night. Delegate fights. Dan Rather getting punched in the face down on the convention floor. God! I miss those days.
Anymore, only PBS carries full convention coverage, which is probably a good thing, because what little I caught of the Democratic convention Wednesday night was pretty dull. I caught parts of three speeches, three standard-bearers of the Democratic party past and present, and, man, were there differences in style.

John Kerrrrrry returned from. . . where has he been the past four years? I can't say he was really missed. When he got up for his speech, you could feel the life just escape from the Pepsi Center. HOW did this guy ever get the Democratic nomination in 2004? Blahblahblahlbah. John, step aside.

Joe Biden ended the evening. Personally, I'm glad he has been picked as the Obama Veep running mate. I've always been a Biden fan. One can't argue with his foreign policy experience--on a par if not greater than John McCain. It's tempting to label him as "Obama's Cheney," but let's not. His speech started off slowly, then he gained momentum and indignation; I was talking to my dad on the phone for much of his speech, but each time I turned to the tv, Biden appeared quite wound up and ripping on McCain and his continuation of Dubya values.

In the middle, the grey fox, Bill Clinton. What a speaker! He clearly made the case for why we can't afford four more years of the last eight years. He probably did it better than Obama will do on Thursday night. No one has a mild opinion of Clinton. You either love him or hate him; trotting him out in prime time was probably a big risk for the DNC, but he's a damned impressive force. He doesn't look his age; gettin' a bit of that strange probably agrees with him.

I just couldn't get that John Kerrey out of my mind, though. God, what a let-down. Kinda like watching grass grow. . .

Enough. What a waste of time and resources.

Speaking of Grass. . .

I never could get the hang of just what makes a lawn beautiful. I tried the Chemlawn route, to no avail. I water like I should--running up too high a waterbill--and it does no good. Fertilizer? Guess I should try that.

Maybe I'm just not a "lawn guy." To me, a "lawn guy" is my dad: Mr. Homeowner, a guy who loves lawns, loves watering, and flaunts watering restrictions to run his sprinkler system long into the night. It doesn't matter that his St. Augustine only needs an inch or so of water a week--by God! He's going to put as much down as he wants! I have a hobby--several, in fact. My dad, like lots of guys of his generation, didn't have hobbies. They fought a World War, went off to become that Man in the Grey Flannel Suit in corporate America, and when they got home from their business trips wanted nothing more to do on the weekend than pull weeds and water. Mowing? That was the job of the oldest son, once he reached "that age."

I can't knock the beauty of a wonderful, green, weedless lawn, but I feel sorry for those men whose lives are wrapped up in its maintenance. A neighbor a few doors down was such a fellow. Nice enough chap, I guess, but too corporate for me. I just didn't trust him. Every time I saw him, he was working on his lawn. It was perfect. To top things off, he was on the board of directors of our homeowner's association--probably the asshole who turned us in for painting our front door deep red without permission. And his wife was this perfect little preppy wife named Ashley or something like that, the kind of woman you know excelled in her class in college getting her business degree but gladly put her career aside to stand by her man as he manicured his lawn, getting pregnant every couple of years, and turning up her nose at the neighbor women. And she always wore a string of pearls.
But lawn nazi and his Eva Braun have moved on to a new neighborhod, off to California with a big promotion. The folks who bought his house with the perfect lawn have already moved in. And I see a few weeds creeping in. I think that means the new owners aren't such tight-asses. There's hope.
Our neighbor annoyed me. I don't know why. Maybe he was too much like what my dad was like as a young man at the same age: on a career track, traveling often, angling for the promotion, working on the front lawn too early on Saturday morning wearing shorts with black socks.
All the things I really hate about corporate America. . I guess because I never followed that path. Am I jealous? I don't know. Maybe it just reinforces that nagging feeling I have in my life as I near 50 years of age, wondering why I was never that go-getter guy.
Like my neighbor.
Like my dad.
Like all the guys with the perfect grass.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Most-Watched NBC telecast?

ALMOST as popular as Michael Phelps. . .

So, congrats to Michael Phelps on his eight gold-medals at the Olympics. Now, quick, Mike, have your agent make you as much money as possible, cause i'd guess the shelf-life of marketing promotion for an Olympic athlete is quite short.

Right now, everyone knows who Michael Phelps is. Hey, the NBC broadcast last Saturday night when he won #8 was the most-watched Saturday night program on NBC in something like nearly 20 years. We're not a nation of Saturday-night television viewers, I guess, because the Phelps Olympic broadcast bumped a "very special" 1990 episode of Empty Nest (a "Golden Girls" spinoff) from the No. 1 spot. I guess the nation was pretty gaa-ga about Kristie McNichol and Richard Mulligan back then. Thankfully, neither one was wearing a speedo during that broadcast.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bunch of Bits. .

Nothing specific here, just a few things bouncing around inside my noggin. . . . .
  • We Ain't Got No Stinkin' Tickets: So, the true sports fans who have scrimped and saved their pennies to attend the Olympic games in Bejing get over there to find. . . ticket prices through the roof! Olympic organizers have been saying that there are no tickets available and that the venues are sold out. Hmm. Seems like a lot of empty seats from what I can see on my television (or have the Chinese just digitally altered the background to make it appear so). Who's to blame? The organizers, I suppose, who invited those bastard "ticket brokers" (defined as legalized scalpers) to set up shop, purchase most of the available tickets at face value, then resell 'em at ridiculously inflated prices. So, blame the brokers at well (Stubhub, go to hell). And a mighty single-finger salute to the corporate "partners" who've also secured their fair share of tickets, only to not use them. Meanwhile, the organizers are scrambling up locals--school children, stragglers on the streets, anyone--to come and fill up the seats to make it look like the events are being well-attended. Meanwhile, the dedicated fans are left scrounging for overpriced tickets.
  • Lip-synching Chinese kid: Where did all the outrage about this come from, anyway? Where's this false indignity coming from? It's not like anyone is up in arms about China's use of essentially slave-labor to build the Olympic venues, their mixing of cute kids and goose-stepping soldiers in the opening spectacle, or their squashing of basic human rights and press freedoms. Hey, that's just the price of doing bidness, eh? These Olympics are less about the athletic competition and more about showing the world that China is more than cheap imported goods and rice paddies, Chairman Mao, and the Cultural Revolition. Oh, the Cultural Revolution? Must've missed that during the sanitize Chinese history lesson during the opening ceremonies. . .
  • Michael Phelps? Sure, nice kid. Sure, great athlete. GREATEST ATHLETE EVER? I'd doubt it. Maybe greatest swimmer. But I'm already tired about his quest for Olympic immortality. Pluheeze. So this whole thing will be a failure if he doesn't win every event and set a world record in each one? Whatever.
  • Fort Worth gas drilling: ah, now that those homeowners lucky enough to have mineral rights (we aren't among 'em) have negotiated a big bonus check and royalty deal with the evil natural gas companies, their conscience is kicking in as they drive through their neighborhoods and are beginning to see drilling rigs, high-pressure odorless gas lines, and compressor stations being built. Oh, and let's not forget the dozens of homes that are being torn down to accomodate the pipeline alignments. And the threat of eminent domain if you don't deal with them! Hey, homeowners with the new big-screen teevees--you've made your deal with the Devil and Mike Moncreif. . .too late to cry for some sort of comprehensive Fort Worth drilling plan now! This is one of my bookmarked favorite blogs on all that's happening in Fort Worth.
  • Carrot Top: When did he go from being just a goofy prop-comic to a scary-looking, roided-up, plastic-surgery-and-tatooed-eyebrow muscle-bound horror? Jesus Christ. Check out this great you tube clip of the amazing Henry Rollins riffing on the "new, improved" Mr. Top. "Non-specific, transgender. . .man, What The Fuck?" indeed!
  • Russia vs. Georgia. Ol' Dubya got lucky. It wasn't his spineless-threats that caused Vlad and the boys to back down. Rather, Russia didn't want too much more egg on their face internationally. And, really, what were we going to do about it? Send troops? From. . .where? Let this be a wake-up call to Americans that if some other superpower (we aren't the only one, ya know) decides to do a little territorial expansion, we're in no position to do anything about it. . .at least until we get the hell out of Iraq (where, by the way, the national treasury has banked billions of $$ while we continue to pay for their reconstruction. . what was that about the war that was going to pay for itself?)
  • McCain/Georgia: Is he senile, or just has no short-term memory?
  • John Edwards: never trusted him. Didn't anyone else just think he was nothing but a smooth-talking lawyer without a bone of sincerity in his body? Well, it'd be tough for anyone to trust him again. But it really wasn't THAT bad--her cancer was in remission at the time. And he didn't father that child--he'd be happy, just overjoyed to take that paternity test. Honestly. Really, now, did Elizabeth truly think that no one would find out about this after she encouraged him to run for President again? She's been labeled an "ambition enabler."
  • John McCain: you notice he's keeping quiet about the whole Edwards thing. He's in no position to talk--and indeed, where is the media giving him and his peccadillos equal time? While he was a Vietnam POW, his wife and mother to his children was involved in a serious automobile accident that disfigured her. What did Johnny boy do when he was spring from the Tiger Cages? Came home, dumped the now-ugly wife, and immediately married a younger, blonder, and much richer woman. Now, there's ambition for you!
  • Credit: Explain to me how I could be denied a loan at a low interest rate due to my credit score, but the same creditor would gladly offer me the same amount of money at a MUCH higher interest rate? Shit, if I wasn't good to pay it back with a lower monthly payment, how could they expect me to be more comfortable with a higher interest rate and subsequently higher monthly bill? I know it's all about risk, but it makes no sense to me. . .
  • D-I-V-O-R-C-E: Okay, so we've got friends who are getting divorced. I really feel for them, and especially their kids. Love changes over time. That's part of life. Careers and children are all a part of that change. Dumping your partner to get more excitement into your life isn't the answer. Deal with it. Think of the kids. And, no, it isn't a better deal for everyone involved. Your kids might not admit to it now, but eventually, it'll mess 'em up.