Friday, October 3, 2008

The Big "Debate"

The much anticipated "debate" between Biden and Palin has come and gone, thankfully. The pundits have had their say, and I doubt many minds have changed. Both candidates misrepresented the others' positions, as usual. Neither was outstanding. Palin did better, sort of, than most had assumed she would do. Biden, didn't lose it and make a damaging off the cuff remark.

Biden is experienced in this sort of thing, and it showed. Palin is not, and it showed. Palin was well prepared by her handlers. In fact she was so prepared she couldn't stray from her memorized remarks, failing to answer several questions, and repeating herself often.

The questions were the usual ones, that could easily be anticipated, with the exception of the one about how they would use office of VP. Palin missed it completely and indicated she would continue to abuse the office as Cheney has done. She even said she would like to have more power, indicating her lack of knowledge of the Constitution, when she said it allowed for more power to the office.

Was it a mind changing event? Only if you were a McCain person and needed something to convince yourself that Palin wasn't a total embarrassment. She didn't blow it completely as some thought she would do. As for Biden, he performed as you would expect for a man with over thirty years experience in Congress. No mind changing there.

Anticlimactic? Very much so. The Republicans are beside themselves with joy this morning. The Alaskan Bimbo passed their test. Democrats see her for what she is, a fake, folksy, talker with no substance. The Republicans will claim victory. Biden met expectations. The Democrats will claim victory. Life will go on.

Maybe someday there will be a debate with difficult questions and with a moderator who will simply say, "you must answer my question before we move on." Make them talk with substance not in circles. At the very least the moderator should point out the fact each time they don't answer the question. I would also like to see the moderator bring up more quotes and make them defend themselves. Point out when they have changed positions and have them explain why. I know. I'm dreaming. It ain't gonna happen because the candidates won't allow it. They will accuse the moderator of partisanship. Let's face it. The candidates are the ones who really run the "debates."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Please Comment

For the past couple of days I have been debating the election with a reader, who insists that Democrats are sinners, and that God doesn't want Obama to be president. I would welcome comments on our discussion from anyone, but especially from my Baptist friends, who are much more eloquent and leaned that I on Biblical issues.

You will find our discussion under the post "Sarah Palin on Her Foreign Policy Experience..."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Wounded Warriors

No, this isn't about soldiers returning from Iraq. It is about those of us who labor daily to complete those honey-dos, to save big bucks (most of the time), and to derive the satisfaction of having done it ourselves. We amass large numbers of tools, large and small, manual and electric, and we go off to war against those who would rip us off and to save ourselves from boredom. We also get bragging rights when things turn out great. We won't talk about those things which go awry.

Recently, I have labored to finish the heated and cooled portion of our basement. The previous owner had it wired, the plumbing stubbed in and all of the framing completed for the walls. My job has been to complete it. I chickened out and got an electrician and plumber to do their parts, but I wanted to do the walls and trim. We decided to used eight inch tongue and grooved pine. It is beautiful, if done right, and although I did it, it has turned out great. I work slow, but I need to. Otherwise, I do bad work and, sometimes, I hurt myself.

We home handymen, are not without the scars of battle. About a month ago, I was building a frame around a drainpipe. The treated pieces of wood that I was using, where the frame contacted the concrete floor, were very seasoned, and, thus, very hard. I was striking a nail very, very firmly, when it buckled. The hammer glanced off the nail head and struck the middle finger of my left hand between the nail and the first joint. It brought a tear to this handyman's eye and blood from my finger. When the feeling finally came back it hurt! Over the course of the next day, the swollen finger turned very purple. There was no feeling in the nail but it did not turn dark.

The finger is still slightly sore and swollen, but I can now fret a string on my mandolin, sort of. I never knew how much I use that finger. I can't tell you how many more times I have hit it, jammed it, and mashed it. It appears that I either broke or crushed it, since it has taken so long to heal.

This project has brought the other usual abrasions, contusions, and bumps and bruises. However, today I experienced another home handyman nightmare. Taking a break from my window trim work (because I cut my last piece of 2 x 6 too short and too narrow), I decided to see if I could correct a poor door installation. While attempting to remove a large nail with my pry bar, I proceeded to stab myself in the chin when the bar slipped. Now I have a sore finger, a band-aid on another (because I accidentally caught it on a jig saw blade. No it wasn't moving, I'm not that dumb) and a large gouge in my chin. It probably needed a stitch or two, but being the stubborn male that I am, no doctor is going to see it.

The adventure will continue. Who knows what danger lurks around the corner of my basement? It is inevitable. We home handymen expect these little distractions, and they give us something to brag about when we get with the guys. They get a laugh and we get to display our treasured injuries. It isn't much, but it is the best we can do.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Who Is To Blame Now?

I know it is much more complicated, but the immediate result of today's House vote was a record drop in the Market. The results are huge losses in retirement accounts, mutual funds, and other investments, meaning the the main streeters like us lost greatly. I don't know what the effect of the bailout will be. It may be worse. It may make things better. It could go either way.

John McCain put all of his eggs in the basket, lied about suspending his campaign and worked his way back to Washington to save the day. Obviously, he has as much influence as his buddy "The Shrub" when it comes to winning an important vote such as that which took place today.

So, who is to blame? Well, the immediate blame goes to the Republicans, who voted against the bill. The market is down and who knows where it will go from here? We have lost great sums of money in retirement investments today. Credit just got much tighter for homeowners and businesses. What else can we expect from these people who have dominated the White House and the Congress for most of the last eight years? If they haven't dominated, they have stymied and vetoed. Now we have a mess, and they vote to prolong it.

McCain Policies

School Classmates

This past weekend my wife and I were invited to the Union County High School Class of '60 annual picnic. That was my sister's class and they get together on a regular basis. It was interesting to see people whom I remember from almost 5o years ago and to see how the years have treated them. Some I recognized immediately. Others had changed drastically. One lady still very closely resembles her 1960 yearbook photo. Her blond hair, undyed, is still very blond. Some of the men are "old" men. Others are much "younger."

The local members of this class get together monthly at a local restaurant. They don't spend the whole time reminiscing. They just have a good time and fellowship together as they did in high school. The local Class of '56 has breakfast weekly and provide each other with support and friendship. Both of these groups invite other graduating class members to join in. They call these get togethers, the Class of " ... " and friends. In other words, those who have gone before and come along after are welcome to become part of their circle of friendship.

I wish my class did this. We were close friends once for 12 years, spending five days a week together for nine months of every year. There is no reason not to spend some time together once again, and not just talk about old times, but share current experiences and rekindle those old friendships.