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Monday, August 21, 2006

Observations...

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr.

I had an opportunity to see presidential hopeful Senator Biden in person the other day. He was an interesting speaker, though I'm not sure I learned a whole lot. I did learn that the Woodbury County Democratic Headquarters is just a few blocks away from my house, and they don't have air conditioning.

Senator Biden had a wonderful plan on how to handle the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Unfortunately, he wasn't in the oval office at that time, and it's five years too late to institute his plan. But his plan sounded pretty nifty and got a good round of applause.

Two things stood out in the Senator's speech... The first is that he very loudly refused to say bad things about United States President G. Walker Bush and the Bush Administration (though he did point out a number of things he'd do differently). "The President isn't as dumb as you'd think," he commented. (I'm paraphrasing - he may have used different words, but that's what he said.) Senator Biden feels that the Bush Administration truly feels they're taking the country the right direction, that they're not messing things up out of malice or stupidity, but rather misguided patriotism.

The second thing that stood out was his opinion on Iowa's economy in the ethanol age. "You're sitting on a gold mine," he said. "You're the only game in town," meaning that once E-85 and bio diesel vehicles hit the market, Iowa will be in a good position to sell more corn and soybeans. I had a LOT of questions for him about this subject, but I hadn't done my homework (and still haven't) so I refrained. I wanted to ask things like, "How will the coming economic boom in Iowa affect farm subsidies?" and "If this stuff is going to be so great for the local economies, why are the citizens of Merrill (a small town just north of here) trying to stop construction of a new ethanol plant in their area? What do they know that we don't know?" and "How does it work that if the huge agribusiness companies like Archer-Daniels-Midland get more money for their crops it'll be good for me? They're not based in Iowa..." But, like I said, I don't really know enough about the issue to ask intelligent questions, and I'm not sure I'd understand the ramifications of the answers...

All in all, though, I enjoyed listening to the Senator speak. He was very personable, intelligent, and didn't seem to be overly arrogant. He seemed knowledgeable on the issues he addressed - but, of course, HE chose the issues himself... He answered all questions well, and (contrary to most politicians) stayed on the topic the questioner chose to ask about. I didn't really hear anything new or startling, but in my opinion the Senator handled himself well.

At the end of the meeting, the Democrats, as always, said that they need everyone's help. However, as always, no one actually said what they needed help with, or how a person can help, or how to volunteer... I'd love to help them, but they never ask me to do anything - even when I e-mail them and volunteer my services (as I have several times). It's a tad bit frustrating.


Local Benefits


We don't have a lot of money to donate, my wife and I, so when we get a chance to actually DO something good for the community we generally jump at the chance. I got to mix three of my favorite things this weekend - charity, music, and beer.

A police officer here in Sioux City passed away recently, and the local chapter of Iron Pigs (a law enforcement biker group - the name makes sense if you think about it) held a fundraiser for the family. They had a nifty poker run, lots of food, and my band played for a good four hours. Judging by the number of people there, I'm thinking they raised a considerable chunk of money, which hopefully will help the officer's family deal with the medical bills...

It's a sad state of our society when neither the government nor insurance will help a family in need. Thankfully, in this case, the family could count on the generosity of the community. I'm constantly amazed at how much bikers give to the community.

I have to admit, though, that I'm a bit worried what will happen in a few years when a bigger proportion of the community finds it harder to donate... Senator Biden's comments for the future are hopeful, but so far I haven't seen any ethanol or bio-diesel money coming into the community.

There are a few reasons to be optimistic, though - Gateway announced they're going to be bringing a few jobs to North Sioux City and a California company is hiring a few thousand people to man a call center, also in North Sioux. This is the first good news we've heard since Gateway left for San Diego and MCI axed a zillion people in the area.


Comedy? This is Comedy?

I like William Shatner. I think he's funny, even if he doesn't mean to be. So, when the comedy channel had a roast for Mr. Shatner this weekend, I made sure to record it. So far, so good.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and decided to watch the show. That was my mistake. I've certainly heard of celebrity roasts, but I've never actually watched one. I don't think I like this style of humor... By the time I'd watched half the show, I felt like I should write letters of apology to all the celebrities who participated. I felt just horrible watching this... Betty White was there. I felt bad when comedian after comedian made jokes about Ms. White being so old she may have an uncontrolled bowel movement at any moment. (They used much coarser language, of course.) Ms. White took it all in stride, though...

The whole thing left me wondering if people can find anything funny without referring to religion, sex or poop. I don't really care who's gay, or who's Jewish, and I truly don't want to think much about poop at all. Ever.

The comedians did have a few clever moments, but I really found the whole affair degrading to everyone involved. Maybe I'm just a prude, but I truly enjoy clean humor a lot more. I will always have more respect for Bill Cosby and Garrison Keillor and their intelligence than I will for comedians that resort to nasty humor.


Puffy Man

I have to let my secret identity out. I am Puffy Man. I don't have much of a costume, though. Just a robe and some pajama bottoms, really.

"You look too skinny," my vunderful vife said to me this morning. "I bet you're losing weight. Don't do that - I like you the way you are." You must understand, she tells me this once or twice a week. I always fall for it. She likes my belly, I don't. I want it to go away.

"You think so?" I answered, swiveling my paunch around. "Do I really look thinner? Is my diet starting to work?"

"Vhat diet?" my beloved said to me. "You're on a diet?"

"Of course I'm on a diet, Hunny-Bee. I eat only food that fits in my mouth." I trotted off to the scale, hopeful that maybe, just maybe I have lost a few pounds. Eyes straight forward, I step on the scale. I give it a few moments to "settle in" on a number and peer around my bulging belly at the result.

"AAAARRRGHHHH!" I wail. "I haven't lost ANY weight! I'm still pudgy! I'm hefty! Puffy! I'm puffy-looking! I'm a puffy man!" What a way to start the day, eh?

1 Comments:

Blogger Katrocket said...

I wanted to watch the Bill Shatner Roast but it hasn't been aired in Canada (yet). I'm still sorry I missed it. Roasts are traditionally bawdy affairs, but then again, they were private affairs between comedians and celebrities, not nationally broadcast media events.

And about the politician: it's always so inspiring to think there's a better alternative out there, isn't it? Problem is, they're given power based on this assumption and tend to repeat the same mistakes as their predecessors. People will say just about anything to get their foot in the door.

8:54 AM  

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