28 November 2008

Thanksgiving's done, now on to Christmas, right?

I'm going to be brutally honest with you all* right now.

If you don't have one of these, you are the opposite of how cool this guy is
Why has no one told me all these years that someone out there was manufacturing giant, lighted, inflatable Santas with bitchin' shades on a sweet hog??

I've been making an idiot out of myself all this time by NOT having one of these in my yard! For how long am I now doomed to rue these wasted years??

You have brought shame upon us all with your deception.

* Or should I say, those of you who aren't doing your patriotic duty right now elbowing old ladies in the face at fire sales down at the mall. You're all off the hook, as I'm crying a single red, white, and blue tear for your brave sacrifices.

27 November 2008

What are turkeys thankful for?

As my American readers know, today is Thanksgiving.* On this day, we are expected to give thanks for the plenty of food and family/friends we are lucky enough to have, and we are meant to celebrate this by ridiculously overindulging in both.

Because of this extreme ritual, we can manage as easily to last an entire year at a time without eating corn-syrup-soaked cranberries jellied into the shape of a can and as we can go that same year without again speaking to or otherwise acknowledging those most distant relatives whose branch of the family tree you can't easily trace.

This holiday is our central teaching tool for that noble tradition our ancestors set in place so long ago: When blessed with plenty, burn through your stores like the freezer's broken; when tested by famine, may you begin to understand why.**

Amen. Now pass me some of those candied corporate profits-- I'm starving!

* Canadian readers: You may not be aware of it, but what you celebrated last month is rightly called "Canadian Thanksgiving". Please see that you correct your calendars.

** It's believed there was a followup proverb, lost to history, saying essentially that one can always guilt a bunch of Indians into sharing all their stuff whenever you need some.

26 November 2008

Telegram from Hellegram

I just wanted to post a quick note of very sincere thanks to everyone for your nice comments and wishes for J-'s safe and speedy recovery.

She will be harnessing your words as fuel to cool the flames of rage and hatred for all of creation whenever the Earth absentmindedly rotates under her hip.

We spent Monday night and much of Tuesday in the hospital, instead of going right home Monday afternoon as they had hoped. This is because the universe loves J- so much it wanted to make sure she would sit down and take a breather for a good long time, with a paid, professional staff of enforcers on hand to play the heavies.

By now, she's setting land-speed records for crutch pilots, and she hardly feels those flaming fingers of death ripping her apart from the inside whenever she sits down, gets up, brushes against something, tries to scootch into a more comfortable position, or exhales.

On other fronts, the debilitating full-body itching that nearly claimed the lives of three nurses and one doctor has now subsided due to that trendiest of prescription painkillers, Taking Off Your Pressure Stockings Once Home Because When Pressed The Doctor Suggested You Could At Some Point Remove Them If Absolutely Necessary. Trade name: SorrybitchesIdowhatIwant-ycontin.

To sum up, I'll let J- herself have the last word, absolutely faithfully transcribed from her sudden whisper in her fitful sleep:


24 November 2008

It's hip to be timely

I know I haven't had too much to say about my wife on this blog, but it's not for lack of amusing stories or anything else. I just tend to procrastinate when it comes to writing about important things, and on many occasions I've let opportunities pass by where J- would be revealed as the amazing and funny person she is.

After a month or two of procrastinating, things start to feel stale and tedious and they pile up in my Drafts folder.

Take our fifth anniversary over a month ago-- wouldn't you expect some sappy post with a scrapbook of pictures and such? Or, knowing me, some sarcastic post with one picture, two at most, and a handful of tangential footnotes? I actually have more than a few pictures and a ridiculous story to tell about that day, but there it sits, and probably will for a while longer yet.

But that's not what this post is about.

Since I haven't said all that much about her, you won't mind me completely mischaracterizing her in your minds by way of introducing the subject of this post: almost six years ago now, she violently ripped the lining of her right hip socket while kickboxing.

She has limped along ever since on her remaining hip, which wasn't so great to begin with, trying and failing for various reasons (including lovely insurance debacles and poorly timed pregnancies) to have the problem surgically corrected. As you can imagine, the pregnancies made that hip sing like a finely tuned machine.

She's sleeping as I write this, as I should be, but today at noon she will fall asleep again. While she's sleeping, she'll be sliced open and have her femur yanked out of the socket, to allow the doctors to scrape out the remaining shreds of labrum and grind into oblivion the pesky bone spur on the end of her femur that started all this mess.

Then, assuming all goes well, they'll stitch her back up and send her hobbling on her merry way, to slowly recover over the next month and a half as she avoids putting any pressure on that leg so the bone doesn't shatter before it's completely healed.

Such is the fun she's bravely facing this holiday season, starting with a Thanksgiving spent as the immobile centerpiece for my extended family's celebration at my parents' house.*

Why is this happening now, you ask? Because she wanted to be sure she'd miss as few school days as possible, while not passing up another chance to get this done once and for all by waiting till next summer. She fills me with faith that this world is not completely lost, as she slogs through everything life throws at her without wasting too much time regretting paths she might have taken.

In the last few weeks, she moved from Drone to Zombie mode in continuing to get up at 5AM while staying late into the evening planning* and preparing everyone around her for her absence at this crucial stage of the year, making plans and more, all to be sure that her extremely underprivileged, forgotten students don't stop the unprecedented (and thankfully, quantifiable in enough areas to buy her some leeway) progress they've made since she took this school by storm last year.

All this leads up to her, a person about as averse to even the idea of surgery as you're likely to find, getting carved up with only the hope of feeling better at some point next year, even without that last little bit of handy buffer between the bones of her hip joint.

We may be back here some day down the road for the other hip, but hopefully it will hear enough horror stories from this one to shape up all by itself.

As for the kickboxing, no matter how successful her recovery is, I don't think she'll be dropping into any Thai cage matches or ill-advised college P.E. classes any time soon.

* Thanks to my parents, she has a place to stay that isn't up three flights of stairs, and thanks to them (and my sister), I'll have a little help managing the kids during J-'s recovery.

** Fifteen special-needs teenagers in one classroom equals 15 separate daily plans.

21 November 2008

Who hsa time too prufread?

Let me start by saying you can't imagine how difficult it was to type out that title, and how painful it is for me to let it sit there as it is.

Now that I have your sympathies, I'll continue.

When I mentioned J-'s seemingly disastrous t-shirt purchase at the Obama rally in Grant Park, there was at least one request to see the offending shirt, and I'm nothing if not accommodating. 

Here is the front image, which as I said is interesting and unique enough, and actually impressive given the price:

Obama rally shirt - Obama as Action HeroI should jump in here to note that to compound my coming complaints, the salesman apparently misheard J-'s request and gave her an extra large shirt, so it's wide enough for the whole family to proudly wear at once.

And now, I forewarn you to choke back your vomit before continuing, because if you're like me, you may not be able to handle seeing the reason why it was only $5 without exerting tremendous self-control:

Obama rally shirt - Shirtmaker as F*** Tard
You know what my "New Hope" is? That sometime before the end of the Reign of Man, we will finally finish evolving enough that before even an everyday-schmo-just-trying-to-make-some-extra-money-capitalizing-on-his-fellows'-exultant-willingness-to-collect-memorabilia places an order for a few thousand t-shirts, he can manage to at least ask someone with a fresh eye to look over the design just once.*

And if we could keep things going enough to not make such errors on this tiny selection of text in the first place, that would just be icing. Right now, the only icing on this s***cake is the inexplicable use of a comma after the abbreviation of the month.

You may think I'm overreacting, but I don't know any other way to be. Life's too short to underreact to things like this. Plus, I've spent years of my life being paid to mercilessly deride people for boneheaded mistakes like this, so it's a hard habit to break.

Full Disclosure: That wasn't necessarily spelled out in my job descriptions, but it was always clearly encouraged. Or tolerated. Or quietly marveled at, in fear. Either way, it definitely seems called for here, because there's no red pen in the world that can wash this tragedy away.

* Barring that, maybe in this hypothetical nearly perfect world, the printer would notice the error and, since it's not his job to alter the design of his clients' orders, he would just print up a single shirt that says YOU ARE AN IDIOT - TRY AGAIN (SOMEWHERE ELSE).

20 November 2008

Next up: Aquaman, The Czech Republic

This just goes to show you that stupid people exist in all countries of the world, and frivilous lawsuits are one of America's last remaining exports:

Batman's Latest Archenemy: Batman, Turkey

The mayor of Batman, a small oil-producing town in Turkey, has filed suit against The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros., the studio behind the record-shattering blockbuster, looking for a cut in the film's royalties in exchange for using the city's name without permission.

As the article points out, where have these people been for the past 70 years? I'm pretty sure no one's confusing Batman movies with travelogues for Turkey, and furthermore, I bet that town has made at least millions in tourism dollars from college students alone diverting their backpacking trips just to go through there and snatch up whatever they can get their hands on to take back home.

So that includes more than a few street signs and a couple giant Welcome billboards... is that such a high price to pay for having one of the coolest city names in the world?

19 November 2008

Indisputable facts, Vol. 2

Here are more indisputable facts from the long list kept by the world's ultimate authority:

1. It's nearly impossible to support a family of four on a teacher's salary, particularly when that salary was agreed to by the worst union in the history of human society.

2. Kids are incapable of wearing a hooded garment without putting on the hood, regardless of weather or any other potentially dissuading factors.

3. I need to make some changes in my life.

4. If I were to get rid of every item in my house that has gotten inappropriate bodily fluids on it at some point or other, I would have very few personal belongings left. And definitely nowhere to sit.

18 November 2008

Attention feed readers!

Apparently something is screwy with Feedburner and today's post does not show up as being published today, so I have a feeling a lot of you missed it. Here's a link to it.

Now we get down to Real Problems

You know, while I may live right next to the city where our new president ended up settling, I can't say I fully identified with him personally until I saw this picture:

Obama gets a taste of my daily life"Backstage at the rally, Obama tries to calm a young supporter whose brother had taken his pretzel goldfish."*

I didn't get to see an After picture for confirmation, but I imagine him using his Dramatic Speech voice to full effect and settling this dispute within minutes.

I have to wonder if he'd be willing to lend me his services now and then in extreme emergencies, if for no other reason than as payback for all those dozens of dollars I gave him.

* I'm sure Pepperidge Farm would not be very happy to see their trademark genericized like this. I think we need to get out there and determine whether this was actually a Goldfish cracker or merely a regular cracker that happened to be vaguely fish shaped. If the latter, they get to start handing out lawsuits.

17 November 2008

A conversation with D-: Stuck in a jam

The following is a not-atypical conversation I had with my 4-year-old son D- the other day on our way to the library:

D-: Why are we going to the liberry?

Me (brushing the turnip leaves off my sleeve): The lie-berry? What's that?? Is it like a blueberry or a strawberry?

D-: No!

Me: Should I go look for a lie-berry bush so I can pick me some lie-berries for a delicious lie-berry pie?

D- (scolding): You know what I mean! The LIE... b... (pause) ...erry.

Me: Mmmm, sounds yummy!

D- (giving me a well-practiced blank look as if I'm a hopeless idiot*): It's not.

* May or may not be accurate.

15 November 2008

At long last, Pt. 4

Finally, here is the final section of my account of the Obama rally in Grant Park on election night in America. Part 1, part 2, and part 3 ran earlier this week.

The place was still packed and buzzing when the feed switched from CNN to the acceptance speech, and it was in listening to that landmark* speech that I felt myself really sucked in to the moment instead of floating outside it, taking notes, the way I generally do with most things in life.

I've often thought that I might have caught religion if I'd gotten to attend a so-called "black church" in my formative years instead of only visiting stale, conservative Catholic churches for various events in my extended family. Listening to this speech live was as close as I think I'll ever get, with the kinetic energy in the audience, the facial and bodily reactions of those around me, the frequent spoken responses throughout, and certain of Obama's tones in the speech itself. That sense of community, of taking part in a dialogue of both words and energy rather than sitting on my couch listening to someone talk at me from my TV, absolutely enhanced the experience in every way.

But more notably, I immediately noticed that feeling of widespread admiration for a president that I haven't known since I was 10 years old.** People who don't completely agree with this man can still admire him without feeling guilty about it, I think. I won't go on about my extremely negative feelings towards Presidents Clinton and Bush (Jr.) for their habits, attitudes, and personal character, since they're beside the point of this post.
After walking around a bit more to soak in the atmosphere, J- and I decided to start the slow trek back home, but not before accepting the fence-security guards' indulgence in actually peeking over at The Cool People's Rally. Also, not before I availed myself again of the remarkably uncrowded banks of portable toilets. Given the predictably low toilet-to-person ratio, the only explanatory factor I can think of is the prohibitive price of water leaving bladders empty across the park.

We took to the streets with glee, since this time almost everyone was on the move at the same time. The poor unlicensed t-shirt vendors hawking homemade wares from cardboard boxes could barely keep up with demand for their predictable products. I can understand the desire for a keepsake from such an event, but a t-shirt, and a poorly-made one at that, isn't necessarily my first choice.

J- decided she wanted one particular shirt, though, and I could console myself with the price versus other commemorative shirts she has chosen to buy, or have bought for her (ahem). All the shirts I saw were much more competitively priced than the typical unlicensed shirts offered at concerts and other events, which pleased me, but the one J- liked so much happened to be only $5, which pleased me even more.

Of course, I later pointed out to her that the likely reason it was so cheap was that while yes, the front has an interesting and imaginative design, the back says "I WAS THERE WHEN HISTORY HAPPEN AT GRANT PARK - NOV, 4TH 2008".

I cannot adequately express how much staring at the back of this otherwise nicely-designed shirt makes me twitch with a craving for unfocused violence.

But that would make me the only one, it seems, because after seeing this, I couldn't help but notice that about 15% of the ecstatic crowd marching home alongside me was wearing the same lowest-bid shirt without a hint of the shame I felt for them.

The Chicago Police reported not a single arrest at the rally,*** which is of course incredible given the attendance and the circumstances of the event, so I'm guessing either all the city's other copy editors stayed home that night or they simply aren't quite as prone to violence as I am.
The walk to the train stop was unbelievable, for the sheer number of people filling six-lane streets for as long as they did, controlling traffic and owning the city at least for an hour or so. I tried to capture the effect in pictures to little effect (see one example below), since I had neither a helicopter nor a camera positioned strategically in the many-storey youth hostel overlooking the exit from the park, which was filled with what were presumably visitors from abroad, waving and shouting constantly from several storeys up.

A failed attempt to capture just one section of the massive crowd leaving the Obama Rally
So I'm left now with blurred pictures and crisp memories, and I can only hope this night proves to be as momentous a turning point in modern American history as it felt like at the time.

* Whatever your current opinion of our President-elect, his first speech in that role is as important as it always is, and given the tenuous state of our economy, government, and society combined with Obama's youth and the fundamental change he claims to represent, this speech, as an introduction to the coming inaugural address, was monumental one way or another.

** Granted, I was right in the middle of a distinctly unscientific sample, but I'll note that I did see several small indicators that there was a healthy number of McCain supporters there for the experience as much as everyone else. It's not like everyone can easily jet out to Arizona in the middle of the work week, and given that, why not be there?

*** I'll state for the record that I did see a young man being handcuffed while face down in the street, for reasons unclear, but that was several blocks away from the rally, and for all I know he was later released without being officially arrested.

Could it be a PR move for the sake of winning the 2016 Olympics? Or could they have just been helpfully demonstrating for this fellow what they
would have done had he been unruly or disrespectful.

14 November 2008

At long last, Pt. 3

This, Part 3 of my requested account of our experience at the election day Obama rally in Grant Park, ended up being so long that I've mercifully split off a part 4 to run tomorrow (here are part 1 and part 2). Sorry to those who've had no interest in reading such a thing-- I'll be back to my usual antics on Monday.

After trying out a few promising spots --leaning against a precious tree, sitting on a curb, sitting in dirt, standing in the street, etc.-- near some of the other Jumbotrons, we ended up settling on a good spot right in front of one not too far from The Cool People's Rally.

This spot provided us more than enough personal space, including the ability to sit down in the grass(!), and an excellent view* of a cameraman's view of history in action. And take note that when I think of the importance of this election, it's not much to do with Obama's race, but rather the involvement of young voters (and even those not yet old enough to vote) and the generally constructive passion involved on both sides.

A lot has been said about the racial makeup of Obama supporters, at least among under-30 supporters, so I don't have much to add in noting the diversity of the people around me, and how reassuring it was to see everyone united.

One older (70s?) couple was so excited early in the evening that not only did the man offer their guest bedroom to a young male German tourist he hadn't met, but he also happily took hold of J-'s waist and moved her over bodily after insisting she could stand in front of him to get a better sightline of the distant Jumbotron (this was shortly before she was mysteriously overcome and had to retreat). As creepy as this might be normally, it somehow wasn't so much so that night, especially since she really did have a way better view from there.

Several of you have made comments expressing terror at the idea of being surrounded by this (likely underestimated) 240,000-person crowd, and while I can understand that when I remember trying to force ourselves closer and closer to the front when we first got there, the rest of the time we spent moving from point to point, having plenty of space to breathe. This is a very large park, and the borders of the unofficial rally were quite porous, so there was plenty of room for even more people, had they not been dissuaded by the mayor's bold projections of a million people showing up.
The screams when CNN projected Obama the winner were beyond deafening, driving me almost to the point of reaching for my cane to wave at the hoodlums on my lawn, but I had been prepared by this after nearly drowning in the tsunamis of sound as they projected him to win states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Florida.

Call me a curmudgeon, or more accurately, someone who remembers very distinctly the last two elections, but Wolf Blitzer telling me on election night that he thinks something will happen carries only slightly more weight than when he said the same kind of thing 6 months ago. With all the (clearly predictable) troubles with democracy-threatening electronic voting machines, I was ready to believe anything could happen, and I didn't want to jinx my outcome of choice by feeling too relaxed or confident until I at least saw a concession speech.

So as a result, I was one stone face surrounded by many thousands of people starting the party without me. But then, I'm not sure what I would have done if I had been on the same wavelength, because I've never been particularly demonstrative in public, so the world probably would have seen the same impassive face drifting through the background that CNN chose not to air, for some reason (I taped 9 hours of their coverage and didn't see myself in any of it).
I was glad to not be the only one listening carefully and respectfully to Sen. McCain's concession speech, and while I understood the initial smattering of boos at the sight of him, given how ugly and personal the race got by the end, I was reassured that they didn't catch on, and subsided as quickly as they had arose.

I know I'm not the only person to express the idea that if THAT John McCain had been out there on the campaign trail (and in the meeting where they picked his running mate), this race might have been much closer, a marked "downside" almost nonexistent, and the resulting presidency (whoever had won) less potentially violent and poisonous. We don't need to continue the zero-sum game that politics, and thus everyday life, has become in this century-- I hope those disappointed in the outcome can focus on the language and sentiments of the John McCain who spoke on that final night rather than the John McCain (and certainly the Sarah Palin), who spoke out on the campaign trail since the convention.
One more part to come tomorrow, despite my plan to do it in three parts. In case you were thinking it, no, my compulsions are not strong enough to overcome my laziness in this case, so I won't be stretching this into a part 5 for cosmic balance.

* This view was definitely hard-won, after I led a generally polite rebellion of our section against two unrepentantly selfish ladies standing up a few feet in front of the TV at the expense of at least a hundred or so people seated in the grass directly behind them. Democracy in action!

12 November 2008

At long last, Pt. 2

I've never done long multi-part posts like this before (unless you count the saga of how I nearly lost an eye), but it became clear it was definitely called for this time.

You may want to read Part 1 of my experience at the election day Obama rally in Grant Park before continuing.

Once inside the Parallel Party Someone's Mom Organized For The Uninvited Nerds, we found that to keep the mob from storming the inexplicably opaque* fences of the Cool People's Party, at least 10 Jumbotrons were set up around the rest of the park, with the primary one alone allowing probably 60,000 people to soak in CNN's commercials** and ridiculous gimmicks for hours before and after Obama's actual speech (on a closed-circuit feed).

So we had to satisfy ourselves with watching TV while standing alongside a whole bunch of other very happy voters. Since it was immediately evident that all of these many, many spectators were exceedingly peaceful and well-mannered, this prospect wasn't as undesirable as it might have been under other circumstances. I had known for months that I wanted to be out Amongst The People for this night, no matter the outcome, and I got exactly what I came for.

J-, on the other hand, apparently got some kind of alien larvae threatening to Cesaerean itself right out of her abdomen, as was the diagnosis issued by the esteemed Doctor We-Don't-Want-To-Leave-So-We'll-Just-Play-It-By-Ear-While-Basking-In-The-Extra-Space-A-Sudden-Unexplained-Vaguely-Stomach-Related-Illness-Helpfully-Provides-In-A-Crowd.

The Bored Horsemen of the Apocalypse
These guys got all dressed up for nothing.

I haven't mentioned how miraculously warm it was that night, but it was over 70 degrees for three straight days, which is about 40 degrees higher than a typical November in Chicago. Clearly, it was a sign that God wants Barack Obama to be president.

This warmth was amped up at least 10 degrees in the thick of that many walking space heaters, and I'm sure the oxygen content of the air within the crowd was about half the dose required for sustaining life. Hence J-'s alien larvae decided to take evasive action by cutting power to her ears, sense of balance, and (almost) her consciousness.

It was at this point I decided to let J- lead us in a little conga line back through the crowd, issuing promises of copious vomit to anyone unwilling to make way quickly enough. I left her on a strangely unused filthy stage far from any of the Jumbotrons, and then made my way back into the madness to find some water.

Not just any water, mind you --after all, we were alongside one of the largest sources of fresh water in the world-- but rather the most expensive water I could find. Nothing's too good for my precious, and how else does one measure quality but by expense?

Luckily, I was in amongst a large, captive pool of consumers, so I felt sure I could count on Connie's Pizza to provide me with nothing but the best. After waiting out the 350 people ahead of me, I was relieved though unsurprised to find a bottle of water (not unlike the two I had confiscated at the gate) going for a patriotic $3, and knowing this stuff thus must be far better than any beverage I'd previously ingested, I readily threw down my money for a $5 slice of pizza while I was at it (since the mysteriously ill lady had decided greasy cheese would be an invaluable assistant in getting back on her feet).
After saluting the noble folks at Connie's (look for their Delivery Maseratis in a neighborhood near you), I again waded through a rainbow blur of human skin, dropped off the food, refolded J-'s death shroud, and headed out to find us a new base of operations. As I walked all over this sprawling park, I found several previously unnoticed McCain-sized rallies around each bend, in a layout I couldn't even begin to map out. If only the Secret Service would release some of the photos they must have been taking from their lonely helicopters up there in that restricted airspace, I could feel vindicated in my opinion of the crowd estimates.
Once again, you can read part 1 here, and look for part 3 tomorrow and part 4 after that.

* Why can't I at least watch through the short chain-link fence, under the watchful eye of security forces?? Those flimsy little fences weren't protecting ANYone.

** I can't have been the only one looking for my DVR remote to obliterate those commercials. I'd almost forgotten what an irritating experience they provide.

11 November 2008

At long last, Pt. 1

Well, by now I've sat here and read most every article I could find related to the election and all its tangents, and after much procrastination, I'm faced with finally writing about my experience at the Obama rally in Grant Park (Chicago) on Election Day, as requested by many of you.
Let me start off by saying that we did not rate tickets to the gated kingdom that was the area around the stage at the rally. I apparently missed the initial announcement that tickets were available for the asking (which probably lasted about 15 minutes), and instead I got an e-mail out of the blue from the Democratic Party the next day. I clicked the link when I saw it a few hours later, and I was immediately informed that I was on the waiting list.*

This was of course due to the fact that they offered tickets to only 32,000 people and a single guest each. Based on the fact that hundreds of thousands of people showed up to the park and the surrounding area**, I think you can tell the deck was stacked against me from the start.

So it was with a mixture of glee and disappointment that we made our way down to Grant Park that evening, alongside the expected anxiety with all those votes still to be counted.

Our 10-mile train trip in from the suburbs went flawlessly, with the relative lack of company due to our being considered very late to the party by arriving a mere 2 hours before the scheduled admission time. Our trip home was much more crowded and chaotic, though to the CTA's credit, it was still remarkably smooth.

A smattering of people far from the entranceWe walked a few blocks from the L stop to the park, and had we worried about where we needed to go, we had only to join the sizable throng of latecomers still inexorably marching down the streets like it was free sample day at the cookie factory.

Impressive as we were, bending the normal flow of traffic to our will, we were but a tiny stream disappearing into the sea of human flesh already assembled in the park.

As we tried to join the party, we were of course briefly stopped by "Security" and quickly stripped of the most threatening of our contraband. That's right-- whoever thought they could get within a block of our future president with a fully loaded water bottle must have been drinking too much of something other than water before showing up.

Speaking of which, my later observations determined that giant jugs of vodka were totally cool with these guys. Also okay: portable furniture, 25-foot telescoping flagpoles, large knives (probably), and airhorns.

Basically, the golden rule seemed to be that anything cited as disallowed in the public invitations was actually encouraged, and other common-sense, life-sustaining items not mentioned therein would be fished out of your colon, if necessary.
It seemed like a good idea to break this up into multiple posts, so look for part 2 tomorrow, part 3 the next day, and part 4 after that.

* As if people were going to be refusing these tickets-- way to get my already-generally-high hopes up higher against my better judgment, Democratic Party of Illinois. 

** I say there were much more than the 240,000 estimate I keep hearing, since I think it discounts a lot of people gathering right across the street and elsewhere in the area, as well as comings and goings over the course of many, many hours.

07 November 2008

Copout: America's Worst-Named Cities

Sorry folks, I need to beg a little more time to finish writing up an account of the Obama rally, as requested, but it should be noted that I'm not promising anything groundbreaking.

In the meantime, inspired by a few of the communities mentioned in all this campaign fuss, please enjoy this list of American cities that should probably consider a name change, for various reasons:

1. Smut Eye, Alabama
2. Rabbit Hash, Kentucky
3. Lynchburg, Virginia
4. Toadsuck, Arkansas
5. Little Compton, Rhode Island
6. Frannie, Wyoming
7. Phil Campbell, Alabama
8. Mound City, Illinois
9. Willacoochie, Georgia
10. Euren, Wisconsin

I know there are more out there, so fire away if you've got some.

05 November 2008

Exhaling after 8 years

A new day, a new hope.After riding home on a wave of very happy people unaware of the time, I can't think of anything useful to say, so I'll just leave it at this. Here's to tomorrow, and all tomorrows after.

04 November 2008

You know what you need to do

It may sound insincere, given my clear preference in this election, but I can honestly say that no matter who you're voting for, please make sure to do so today, if you haven't already.

If only everyone legally allowed would vote in every election (and then those votes were all recorded accurately before being faithfully tallied, of course), I think we'd stop being defined by the simmering dissatisfaction, constant infighting, and impotent rage coursing through this country.

If everyone just let their choices be known and then dealt with the consequences, we'd have so much more time for really important things instead of spending so much of it focusing on regrets and pointless analysis.

Anyway, enough with the sappy melodrama. Just make sure, like me, that this won't be any of you today:
LiteralDan in a Post-Obama-Rally coma
Tomorrow morning after the rally, of course, all my bets are off.

03 November 2008

Decision 2008: Trick or Treat

Just a quick Halloween rundown today, starting with this curious picture:When Spider-Man got tired of swinging, he called in Tinkerbell to help him flyThese two strange children followed me around all day without revealing their identities or to whom they belonged. I would have called the police or Child Protective Services, but they seemed to be getting prodigious amounts of candy thrown at them, and thus I figured they might be of some use to me.

Two straight days of glorious stomachaches later, I stand by that decision. If only D- and M- could have been there... J- and I might have gotten twice as much candy.

Elsewhere, in an effort to hone her pumpkin-carving skills as well as get out the vote amongst the elementary-school and elementary-school-chaperone demographic, my sister decided that night to carve the Obama-Biden symbol into a pumpkin, with the word VOTE etched above it.

The day after Halloween, there wasn't much left of it:It's unclear why the other pumpkins were untouched, but maybe they just lack that j'ne sais quoisI can't decide whether this was an underhanded voter-suppression move by neo-conservative squirrels or merely an innocent nibbling of the alternatives by right-leaning independents who had their fill of nuts over at the Palin rally.

Speaking of nuts, I hope to be acting it with a few hundred thousand of my new closest friends in Grant Park tomorrow evening-- in case I don't post tomorrow, I'll see you all at the end of this long, strange tunnel Wednesday morning!