A life in the day

10/30/2004

Massachusetts Miracle

Filed under: — site admin @ 10:40 pm

Is it just magical thinking? Ever since the Red Sox won the world series, I’m a lot more sanguine over John Kerry’s chances in Tuesday’s election. I’ve been biting my nails, amazed that there could be any hope for President* Bush, given the absolute disaster he’s made of his first term, but feeling that I have to believe all the pollsters talking about how close the contest remains.

Now if I were a true Red Sox fan, it might just be attributed to giddy high spirits. But, while I do root for the team, I don’t really care much. I don’t care about any professional sports. I like to tease my wife with it. She grew up in a family devoted to the Sox, and got tired of hearing all about “those dirty Sox.” So ever since I learned of her family’s sorry history (after game six of 1986’s disasterous World Series) I’ve been teasing her with “This is going to be the year. This is the year the Red Sox will finally win it all.” But it really is a tease; I follow the standings just enough to be able to tell Amy how well the dirty Sox are doing. I don’t know what I’ll tease her with now that they’ve won.

So it can’t be enthusiasm from their winning, and I don’t really believe that there is any tie between the Massachusetts candidate and the Massachusetts major league team, I am nonetheless much more hopeful than I have been since before the conventions.

Maybe it’s simply that some of the more liberal columnists, Krugman and Ivins, for instance, have been claiming that it’s clearly going their way, while the conservative columnists I read aren’t daring to make such predictions aloud. Maybe they all have some insight that I’m not privvy to. I know that people are talking about the huge number of newly registered voters being more likely to vote Democratic, and about the number of youth registered who are not being polled because they only have cell phones. I know that Krugman talks about the undecided traditionally breaking for the challenger. But I know also that I’ve held out hope for all sorts of silly reasons before. I remember during the 2000 recounts giving credence to the argument that a great number of the overseas absentee ballots would likely end up being for Gore/Lieberman becasue so many were from Israel, when I shouldn’t have bought any of it for a minute since the overseas military votes certainly outnumbered them and were sure to weigh heavily for Bush.

Maybe it’s my recent talk with Stefan. He is certain that Kerry doesn’t have what it takes, that the country will never choose Kerry. Stefan is the same one to assure me, back in the early 90’s that Colin Powell was to be the next president. It’s not that Stefan is never right, but when he’s so certain about what’s likely to happen, I’m going to bet the other way. Maybe it’s just the underlying unspoken now-in-the-open competitiveness of our long friendship, but I’m going to go the other way here. Of course what he hears hanging out around a military contractor in Atlanta differs quite about from what I hear in New England intellectual communities!

But whatever it is, I am feeling much more hopeful about the results of the elections.

Go Sox! Go Kerry!

*Chosen by the Supreme Court.

10/5/2004

A White Board

Filed under: — site admin @ 2:51 pm

After six months on the job, I finally have a white board. They’ve been in storage for months, waiting for the boss to find someone to hang them. Finally, I’ll be able to think properly again!

First quote to go on the board, in recognition of politics’ silly season is one from Lily Tomlin: “Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard-working Americans. It’s the other lousy 2% that get all the publicity. But then, we elected them.”

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Advertisement

Filed under: — site admin @ 2:43 pm

I have given money to several political campaigns in recent years. So now I’m on a number of mailing list, and get begging letters I rarely read. I know who I’m going to support and how much I’m willing to give them, so I simply refuse to bother with these missives. Yesterday, though, I got a chuckle when my very close friends, former President William Clinton and Senator Edward Kennedy, each sent me a letter. The very first thought at seeing them next to each other in the pile of mail was to wonder how many others got mail regularly from Bill and Ted.

I still haven’t opened them. But there’s a lot you can tell from the envelope.

Clinton is looking for money to build a library; we knew that was coming, didn’t we? His is in a large envelope with a nice looking return address for The William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation in Little Rock, Arkansas. The 2003 USA Nonprofit Org. stamp is pretty, a stylized seascape in front of a coniferous forest on a cliff, all rendered in shades of blue with a red and orange sky. If the letter shifts up in the envelope you can read much of the next line below it: “…se make your check payable to the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundatio…”

Kennedy is looking for contributions to the Democratic Town Committee. His envelope has a plain D.C. return address with “Senator Edward M. Kennedy” in bold. Across the middle of the envelope is, “We are within days of the most imporant election of our lifetime.” The stamp is more boring, a stylized eagle in brown on gold. Above my address is “Official Democratic Contributor #: F011471213.” Look at this honey, I’m official. They must think a great deal of my fifty bucks!

I think I won’t open these. They would lose the strange artistic quality with which I’ve somehow imbued them. Maybe I’ll frame them.

BMI update

Filed under: — site admin @ 2:03 pm

In a July entry I discussed my confusion about the units of the Body Mass Index (BMI). Yesterday the doctor told me that they are going to stop using the BMI within a year or so because it doesn’t properly measure muscle mass or bone structure. I didn’t ask who “they” were. ;-)

While it clearly wasn’t the most exact measure of body fat, it was an extremely simple one to make. The research I read said that there was a strong correlation with body fat percentage, which can measured, but not as easily. I wonder what they (them again!) will use to replace it as a simple test of whether someone is overweight .

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