Post Election DTs

This was bound to happen. I mean, I half expected it, sort of, but not really. It kind of crept up on me. I’ll confess. I’ve been mainlining for a few months now, and I didn’t really go cold turkey until about Friday. I mean, there was still an abundance on Wednesday. Plenty of it was around. It was just so easy to get. I mean, it was everywhere you looked. A hookup was the easiest thing in the world, so I really wasn’t worried about getting a fix.

Thursday was still good, too. Although, I could sense that things were changing. There was something in the air. And you could see it in people’s eyes: a glassiness. That’s when I realized that it was going to be harder to get my hourly fixes. Because by then, once daily wasn’t enough. I was up to six, seven hours a day, and I often went into the wee hours of the morning.

I wasn’t able to write on Thursday. I mean, there werethings that I could write about, but I just didn’t have it in me. I actually began an entry, but it died on the page, just kind of fizzled out like a defective sparkler on the Fourth of July.groundhog-day I recognized it for what it was: I was starting to feel the withdrawal symptoms. It wasn’t too bad yet, but the beast from Moria was entering my brain, and I knew that it was coming: a withdrawal/stress migraine. And then, too, I was facing my worst day of the year. So I didn’t force it. I turned off my desk light, and hid under the covers. I tried to read a regular book, but it was so unsatisfying. Even my three hours of MSNBC didn’t soothe me: Hardball, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, The Rachel Maddow Show. Something was missing.

Friday arrived and the culmination of events finally proved to be my undoing. I took to my bed like a groundhog going into hibernation with no intention of emerging until Willard Scott and his Smucker’s jam called me out. I was certain that an invisible ice pick was protruding from my right eye.

On Saturday I finally faced the fact that I had an addiction that had to be faced: I was a political campaign news junkie. And now that Obama was president elect, I had to find a new way to carry on my everyday life. I mean sure, I could still write about politics in my blog, but it wouldn’t be the same. Sarah Palin had scurried back to Alaska with the claim that she had only ever asked for a Diet Dr. Pepper once in a while. John McCain wasn’t talking, and the Republicans had gone into hiding to try to figure out what to do about Senator Stevens. The only truly interesting thing going on was the custody battle over Joe Liebermann, and I had to face the fact that that simply wasn’t enough to feed my habit.

I mean, President-elect Obama gave us a scrap with his first press conference, but it that thirty minutes just wasn’t enough. I realized that it was going to be a long two months until January 20 unless W. did something really interesting, and let’s face it, anything that he tried to do, Obama was going to undo as soon as he took office.

I tried to recapture some of the high by watching Keith Olbermann’s hour-long review of the campaign, twice, but it just wasn’t the same. Who would I mock now that Joe the Plumber had retreated into obscurity? What would I do now that Thelma Drake had finally conceded to Glenn Nye in the 2nd Congressional District? The only things that I had to look forward to were Al Franken’s runoff election and what happened to the felon in Alaska . . .

It’s just not the same. I never thought I’d say this, but I kind of miss Sarah P. But not to worry, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of her. Until then, I’ll just have to regulate my dosage, and satisfy myself with writing about the usual shenanigans of politics as usual, you know, people like Michele Bachman, Rush Limbaugh, and of course, Sarah P., who doesn’t have sense enough to let a spokesperson issue a statement for her, because she is, after all, a governor, and governor’s shouldn’t go around calling people “jerks” on the record.

As always, more later. Peace.

A Matter of Style: Obama Has It and Well . . . McCain Doesn’t

Three Days to Go and So Much to Be Done

John McCain’s Twilight Zone Redo

Okay. I’ll admit it. I do watch a few reality shows. I know that I have claimed to abhor most of them, and I do. But I love “Project Runway,” and I’ve started to watch Tim Gunn’s “Guide to Style,” mostly because I love all things Tim Gunn. I watch “What Not to Wear” occasionally, not as much as I used to, but Tim Gunn is more fun right now, I suppose because of the novelty, that and because of the outrageous idea that a woman can get along with 10 basic items in her closet. What a hoot!

The other wonderful thing about Tim Gunn’s show is that he surprises every woman by taking her to some designer’s workshop just to give her an inkling of how fabulous she would look in a designer gown. Now, if someone did that to me, and then didn’t give me one of those designer’s gowns, I’d be spitting fire. I mean, really, that’s cold. But of course, the women get the gowns, and go off to their special events looking fabulous. And here I sit, looking like a sausage, bemoaning my fate.

So I turn to Corey, and I say, “I’d love to call the show and tell them I need a makeover to bring my look up to date.” To which he replies, “Are you out of your mind? You can’t let Tim Gunn come in our house.” Which is true, so there goes that idea . . .

I only mention this whole idea of new styles and makeovers because I’ve decided with three days to go in the campaign that John McCain needs a redo, a complete start over from the beginning and try again. I’m serious. I mean, it couldn’t hurt. Could it?

Work with me here. Let’s go back . . . Doo do do do . . . doo do do do (eerie music from the “Twilight Zone”). Voice over: “Imagine if you will a man, so completely overwhelmed by circumstances, that he would like nothing better than the chance to start again. Now imagine, that man goes through a door and finds himself exactly where he wants to be: August 1, 2008. He has entered (dramatic pause and music) the Twilight Zone.”

Why August 1? Well let’s see, that gives him a chance to reconsider his vice presidential candidate and to vet that person thoroughly (what a concept). It gives him a chance to redo the Republican National Convention without starting late and to make it more of the spectacle that his party wanted. It gives him a chance not to pseudo-suspend his campaign and threaten to hold his breath over the first debate. It gives him a chance to do a take back, or actually, never happened on the incredible statement, “the economy is fundamentally sound.” It gives him a chance to uphold his basic sense of decency and never let his handlers push him into the murky waters of mudslinging and chargers of “socialism, terrorism,” and all of that other malarkey.

It gives him a chance not to embarrass himself by hanging his hat on some incredibly ill-conceived idea of Joe the Plumber as an American everyman. It gives him a chance to distance himself from George Bush much, much sooner in his campaign. And if he had played all of it better, then he probably wouldn’t be defending traditionally red states right now, and this would be a much tighter race.

Not that that’s what I want. But a part of me really does want the old John McCain back. The man who wasn’t going off half-cocked at every turn. The man who wasn’t wandering around on stage looking for Mr. Puddles. The man who wasn’t calling on a Joe the Plumber who wasn’t even there. Hey, I’m human. I really do feel for the guy, even though I have grown to hate what his campaign stands for. But I attribute that more than anything to two things: Sarah “Alexander Haig I’m In Charge” Palin, and some really bad handlers who have given him some really bad advice.

So if wishes were fishes, and I had a few extra to give away, I’d give one to John McCain, and let him have that one. Maybe. I mean, I’d let him have his dignity at least. After all, November 4th is only three days away, and Obama is moving into Arizona, and one of my favorite songs is by Jamie O’Neal: “There is No Arizona.” Let’s hope not for John McCain, anyway.

Speaking of Style

I was watching Rachel Maddow’s interview with Barack Obama the other night, and I loved her comment about his personal style. She was simply amazed by how calm the man was. She said that if he were any calmer, he would “be on ambien.” She also commented on how calm the people around him were, surprisingly so.

It’s a presidential campaign, people. Why aren’t you running around like the firestorm that it’s supposed to be? I remember comments about the Clinton campaign and the subsequent administration, how everyone was adrenaline-filled and running around like crazy all of the time. What a contrast. It’s kind of like jazz, how it can be hyperkinetic and then really smooth. Doesn’t surprise me at all that Obama isn’t hyper. If you’ve ever seen him come on stage, he kind of lopes, very casually, like he hasn’t got a care in the world, or another three stops to make. I’ll bet he makes his Secret Service contingent crazy.

News From the Phone Banks

Unlike Barack Obama and his handlers, things at campaign headquarters are, shall we say, a bit frenzied. I think the junk food may have something to do with it—lots of leftover Halloween candy, homemade cakes, carbs, and a few veggies for good measure. We’re down to making calls for volunteers to come in on the last few days for door-to-door canvassing and for phone bank work, and we’re getting more answering machines than answers. Most people have heard from us at least two times by now, and they’re getting a little touchy, as in the woman who said, without grace, shall we say, “I wish you people would just leave me alone. I’m old!” All right. Point taken.

Granted, I hate to be on the other end of a rolling poll machine. I know how relentless they can be, which is why I like to be on the calling end and not the receiving end. But for those of you who are receiving the calls, just remember, it’s almost over. And if you really want to get rid of us, join us!

And I have to say, these Obama people are pretty relentless, they even have sign-up boards for ninja stealth canvassing during the night before polls open. No, no one is going to be knocking on doors, but they will be putting door hangers on door knobs so that it’s the first thing you see when you open you door in the morning to get the newspaper, if you still read a hard copy, that is. And guess what? I gently urged (hah!) Corey to sign up for one since he’s up all night anyway. I’m not sure, but I think that he may have been shooting daggers at me with his eyes, or maybe it was just a look of love. Who can tell these days . . .

Out of my calls today, I did manage to persuade one guy to come in after his shift at work to make telephone calls tomorrow, and another to come in to drive people to the polls after he drops his daughters off at school on election day. Me? On election day, we’re signed up for more phone work, and who knows what else we’ll be doing. Brett will be working, too, since school is closed that day. I’ve promised him his manna from heaven when all of this is over: His own dozen of Krispy Kreme donuts, hot off the racks. Mom knows how to bribe.

I was speaking with the phone bank coordinator, one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Turns out we have more in common than a belief in the visionary guy. She, too, has fibromyalgia and her share of pain problems, but she’s still working and volunteering. I’m in awe, truly. I know that I couldn’t do what she’s doing, by half. A sincere, big shoutout to her (and I would do the windshield wiper wave, but I refuse to take my Palin impersonation that far).

Finally, a Word from the Mighty Cleese

The word is berk, b-e-r-k. It’s a wonderful British word that means in general, fool. But its derivation comes from the Berkeley Hunt. In Cockney rhyming slang, hunt rhymes with c*nt, so berk takes on a much more derogatory meaning. Cockney, for those who might not be familiar with the term, is generally used to refer to slang from the East End of London, and rhyming slang is far more complicated, involving the dropping of a word with another word or phrase that rhymes with it.

Long story short, John Cleese appeared on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” last night and read another one of his poems, this one an homage to that twit, Bill O’Reilly. Cleese used the word berk in his description of O’Reilly, and when Olbermann asked him what the word meant, Cleese actually brought up the Berkeley Hunt definition. Priceless.

It’s been a long time since I’ve actually heard the word berk used, except once in a while on Masterpiece Theatre on mysteries, and I read it frequently in my British mysteries, but I used to hear it when I was a child, and my mother and I would travel around London, especially in the markets. Even as young as I was, I knew what a berk was, but I was never allowed to use the word. It’s a wonderful word, and Cleese’s use of it makes me want to reintroduce it into my personal patois. Think of the fun I could have . . . Oh stop being such a berk . . . That man is a complete and total berk . . . and so on. It really is too tempting. You do know that I’m going to have to go there.

On that note, more later. Peace.

And Now For Something Totally Different

At the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner

It was a refreshing things to see: John McCain in white tie and tails, getting big laughs at his own and Barack Obama’s expense at the Alfred E. Smith Foundation Memorial Dinner. The dinner, which is traditionally held a few weeks before a presidential election, honors former New York Governor Alfred E. Smith, the first Catholic to be nominated for president of a major political party. The event, which raises money for charity (this year $3.9 million to help underprivileged children), has but one requirement of its speakers: that they be funny, both both Senators delivered with self-deprecating humor as well as jabs at other politicos, including Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Senator John McCain Get Big Laughs

McCain spoke first, and actually, I think that his delivery may have been better than Obama’s. After all, he’s had more practice on the late night circuit, and he knows how to time his punch lines better. One of my favorite lines from McCain’s 15 minutes:

McCain joked that because he and Obama are friends, he has a nickname for him: “I just call him ‘that one,'” a reference to an awkward moment in the second debate, but McCain went on by saying that Senator Obama has a pet name for him as well: “He calls me George Bush.”

Senator Obama and Alfred E. Neuman’s Ears

I particularly liked Obama’s opening line: “I feel right at home here because it’s often been said that I share the politics of Alfred E. Smith and the ears of Alfred E. Newman.” If you don’t know who Alfred E. Newman is, you are too young to be reading this blog.

Obama is one of those people who likes to tee hee at his own jokes. It’s an endearing quality, but it makes him less effective than McCain as far as the deadpan delivery. I did, however, love this line: “I got my middle name Hussein from somebody who obviously didn’t think I’d ever run for president.” And then he quipped that his middle name was actually Steve.

The Guy in the Third Row

Did anyone notice the guy behind the speakers who just kept eating throughout the whole thing, seemingly oblivious to the cameras? No one was going to keep him from his chocolate torte? Now there’s a man after my own heart. Candidates? What? This is damned good chocolate. Cardinal Egan, are you going to eat yours?

Wish I’d Been There

Political humor done well is truly an art form. Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert are just two of the more skilled pundits who deliver on this kind of lampooning in the media today. Rachel Maddow is particularly skilled at political wit and repartee (which she more than proved in her face off with half wit David Frum), and Keith Olbermann has an acutely ascerbic bite to his commentaries of which I am probably overly fawning. So to watch these two adversaries put aside their campaigns for one evening and come together on one stage to trade quips for the evening at a white-tie, charitable affair was more than worth the interruption of the Rachell Maddow Show, and actually more interesting than Debate #3. As a matter of fact, this half an hour of television would probably have drawn more viewers and done the McCain campaign more good than the debate.

Never mind.