Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back and Featuring...

I just got back from the annual pilgrimage to Bozeman, MT, for Thanksgiving with my brother and sister-in-law. It was relaxed, as always, and I will miss the tradition, which has endured for the 6 years we all have lived in the Rocky Mountain west, when they move back east. I realized on the long drive home today, too, that this is the solo first road trip I've taken in a long time in which I was able to sit in the car and let my mind drift in a reflective way, rather than in the angst-ridden sense it has for a long time, dreading what would await me when I returned, or what had happened in my absence. I'm not going to go into the "why" of that here, but it was a pleasing feeling to suddenly realize that not only have the tears been sewn up, pretty much, but most of the stuffing has been reinserted.

Wednesday I found myself reminiscing about my best friend in elementary school, Andree, who has a new business website. I asked her before I left if she'd mind if I feature the site on my blog, as I like to do when friends are doing cool things that deserve notice. We met in second grade, I want to say, and were best friends up through sixth. Her family introduced me to Acadia National Park and to Chinese food. Andree lived downstreet, and I lived in the country on the bus route, and when junior high came along, our relationship gradually changed, but some of my fondest memories are of us two child philosophers hanging from the monkey bars during recess, talking about... well, kind of grown-up things, questions like who we are and why we are here, in an individual sense, but with an eye on a broader picture, too. And one of my favorite kid stories to tell is when one Sunday we were alone at her house, and we called people randomly from the phone book. We'd take turns ringing a little hand bell and asking whoever picked up the phone on the other end, "Why aren't you in church today?" Well, why the hell weren't we, I'm sure more than one irate grown-up wondered, and where were our parents?- as they hung up on us.

Anyway, here is Andree's new website, for her wedding photography enterprise. Check it out:

Then, today on the way home I was thinking again of the past, but more recently, about my time at The Pharmhouse. More specifically, I had pushed in a cassette (that's right, Verdi doesn't play CDs, or tell the temperature, or have cruise control) that I had made sometime in 1999, the year after I left Dave. In fact, I left at this time of year, in 1998, though I didn't physically leave, but slept on the couch and was glad he was on the road most of the time, until January, when Gabe and I got The Pharmhouse.

So, the music on this tape: Everclear, Stabbing Westward, Catherine Wheel, Eve 6, Ben Folds Five, The Foo Fighters, The Flys... contained a large proportion of bitterness, and I realized as I was driving and singing, after not having listened to this particular cassette in a long time, that I was listening from a different angle, maybe more removed than before. While at the time I made that tape, I was gliding on giddy wings of freedom to be myself, safe with my family of friends at The Pharmhouse, there was the same bitterness and anger puffing out around the edges, even if it was sometimes morose, as was the social mood of the day among others listening. When people associate the apathy and loss of direction apparent in the clothes, music, and actions, or inactions, to those of us who slacked off to that stuff, did they miss the latent bitterness and disappointment and anger that there didn't seem to be anything worth an aspiration at the time, unless one wanted to don a suit and play for The Man?

I was secure in my job at the time, actually, the best I've ever held in terms of challenge and satisfaction, and I was safe in my new home, one week watching foreign films on DVD with Gabe, the next eating steakbombs and partaking of grade B horror flicks with Michael. I'd pull on my boots and down coat and stand at the bonfire while groups of friends in the Valley picked and sang, or would crawl into shorts and out of my tent at outdoor festivals to sit on the grass and listen to the best live: Bela Fleck, Medeski Martin and Wood, Dr. Didj, Ozo Matli, Sound Tribe. Then alone in my palatial red-walled room, I'd listen to That Other Stuff, the stuff I put on the tape I listened to today.

One of my roommates during that time, and someone I haven't seen in years but whose friendship I still treasure, along with the purple Patagucci shirt she gave me that's raggedy at the sleeves now, is Nickie Sekera, previously mentioned as my Vice Presidential running mate, and also in conjunction with her hard work and commitment to US Campaign for Burma. Nickie sent me a coffee mug recently, that showed up by UPS on Election Day, no less. It's the one pictured here, and it came with a letter on aubergine paper. The story is, "I spotted this mug on my second visit to Japan. I liked the kitsch factor of a mug with our nation's capitol that was manufactured in an Asian country. The colors were 'off,' so to speak, and the White House- Aubergine. Tacky is cool. Do I have foresight? Did you unknowingly choose me for VP on inuition, that is based on me possessing this mug?" No; I chose you actually because I thought it a good idea for two smart, good looking blonde women who can get things done to be on a ticket together.

Of course, the problem currently is that only one of us is getting anything done these days, it seems, and that's not me. But I had plenty of time to think about that while driving, too.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Official Ninja Webpage:  REAL Ultimate Power!!!!

The Official Ninja Webpage: REAL Ultimate Power!!!!

Radical Zealots Use Conventional Weapons to Kill NY Worker

On November 28, Black Friday in the United States, a throng of extremist consumer-shoppers, using a weapon that has served in battle since time immemorial, their physical bodies, successfully killed a 34-year-old retail worker at a corporate giant Wal-Mart store in Long Island, New York, during a mad rush that also shattered the glass doors of the establishment.

Meanwhile, four other people, including a 28-year-old woman reported as pregnant, were treated for minor injuries following the assault.

While charges could be filed, according to police, using surveillance video and eyewitness accounts would be difficult in establishing direct involvement and culpability in this criminal act. If other stories of trampling deaths during impassioned rushes at religious pilgrimage are any indication of consequences, expect none, except for the collateral damage experienced by many who found themselves empty-handed of flat-screen TVs and other idols of worship for which they had arisen early and come out to fight.
(if for some odd reason you haven't seen this already)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Am I High? Or Taking the Wrong Drugs?

I don't get it. Help me, please.

Brand Name Drug Makers Could Be Liable for Injuries Caused by Generic Versions

Brand Name Drug Makers Possibly Liable for Generics
Nov 10, 2008 Parker Waichman Alonso LLP
A California appeals court ruling that took place this past Friday is likely to generate lawsuits against many in the pharmaceutical industry. The recent ruling put brand name drug makers on notice that they can be held liable not only for injury caused by their own brand name medications, but also for injuries caused by generic drug makers that are selling generic versions of their brand name products.

The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco, California, reinstated a lawsuit that was originally initiated by Elizabeth Conte. Conte had taken a generic version of Wyeth’s Reglan heartburn medication for nearly four years. She subsequently developed tardive dyskinesia, a condition which causes incurable and involuntary muscle movements. Although Conte only took generic versions of the medication, she accused Wyeth and three generic drugmakers of failing to warn of the risk of long-term use of the medication.

Conte’s doctor may have relied on product warnings distributed to physicians by Wyeth when he decided to prescribe the generic version, the court cited in a three-to-zero decision. Also, a Summary Judgment against the generic drugmakers—Teva Pharmaceuticals, Pliva, and Purepac Pharmaceuticals—was upheld. “As the foreseeable risk of physical harm runs to users of both name-brand and generic drugs,” Justice Peter Siggins wrote, “so too runs the duty of care and Wyeth has not persuaded us that consideration of other factors requires a different conclusion …. We believe California law supports Conte’s position that Wyeth owes a duty of care to those people it should reasonably foresee are likely to ingest metoclopramide in either the name-brand or generic versions when it is prescribed by their physicians in reliance on Wyeth’s representations.”

The case utilized a "negligent misrepresentation" theory which, if seen to fruition, could enable others to also work around the existing product liability precedant, thus enabling liability without attachment to time or "special relationship" or other concerns. Because there is no effective limitation on the scope of the theory, only "foreseeability," which essentially amounts to no limitation whatsoever, could take place. Some critics argue that this could enable a situation in which brand name manufacturers would be sued for a product for which they do not receive profits and from which generic sales could adversely affect their profits.

Apparently, a preemption argument was implemented that points to the ability for generic manufacturers' to utilize such an opton, thus placing more pressure on the product identification requirement. That requirement has long protected pioneer manufacturers from liability in these types of cases.

Given that misrepresentation is a false statement of fact made by one party to another party, in this case, the court agreed that the negligent misrepresentation is to be charged against the brand name manufacturer as well as the generic drug makers.

I mean, I get it, the legalese, the implications that are being bandied about here, but I'm having a problem- maybe a couple. Is this me? Am I hallucinating? Because I've set this matter aside for days, hoping I'd change my mind about coming to the defense of the Big Pharmaceuticals. But, I didn't. If the guys at Wyeth are guilty of "negligent misrepresentation," aren't the guys at the generic companies, too?

"Drug manufacturers have long had to provide safety warnings for their products. Now they might have to do the same for companies piggybacking on their success...
"'As the foreseeable risk of physical harm runs to users of both name-brand and generic drugs,' Justice Peter Siggins wrote, 'so too runs the duty of care.'"
(Name-Brand Drug Makers Ruled Liable for Injuries From Other Manufacturers' Generics)
To me, that looks like the generic drug manufacturers are also accountable. Maybe it's a good thing I blew off law school.

But the Really Big Question I have in this scenario is, well, where is our watchful, thorough and care-driven government regulatory agency the FDA in this scenario at all? And mention of that agency's culpability? You know, the guys who deem drugs safe or not before they even go to market? I swear I learned about that in at least one of my Public Administration courses. Who the hell steered me wrong?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Can't Do My Job

First, about a week ago, I told Princess Artster Jodie Moat Monster I would feature her website on my blog, so here it is: Check it out. Jodie does some really fun, colorful and creative stuff, including experimenting with the plaster jackets we discard in the dino prep station after we empty them of their fossil contents. Good stuff!

So, yesterday was an exercise in patience for me. It was less that I had a splitting headache yet still interacted with people, and more that I interacted with people who have excuses for lame behavior at the corporate and academic level. I did some screaming, frankly. Here are the results I have compiled, of events:

1- If you are a can-do person who likes results, efficiency, simple functioning of technology for which you shell out your hard-earned money, DO NOT PURCHASE ACER COMPUTER PRODUCTS. If you want the entire 5+-month lowdown on this situation, please ask me and I will be happy to share when I have cooled off a little. For now, just knowing that hearing "we can't" repeatedly from people who work for the business, when you have purchased a machine in good faith that your money is paying for function, not dysfunction, is not acceptable, especially if you personally and professionally are someone who "can."

2- People who work daily with computers and are paid to do so, in clerical tasks, do not necessarily do their jobs correctly. I know; hard to believe, especially if you tend to be someone who does your job, for the most part, correctly, and at least apologizes and remedies a situation when you screw up. Something like 2 years ago, I spilled a glass of water, and it ran into two books about Albania that I had taken out of the University of Wyoming Library. One was a $9.95 picture book. The other, I don't know the retail cost, but it doesn't matter so much. I was charged some crazy amount of money for rebinding one and replacing the other, as well as $15 EACH for a "billing charge." Grudgingly, I paid the rebinding and replacement fees, but I held off on the $30 billing charges, on principle. (And despite my repeated attempts to communicate with Library and Billing administrators, I received no reply so that I could discuss the matter.) Aren't the people who bill me paid a salary to bill me? Isn't that part of the Job Description? The Duties associated with that position? Why is an extra charge attached to a normal job function, when there is already a budget for the work? Eventually, I was banned from taking books and videos from the libraries, getting official transcripts of my academic career at the University if I needed them, and so on, so I sucked up and let The Man have his way.

Yesterday, however, when I went to check out a couple books, I was told I had overdue charges on two books. "And those books would be titled..?" I asked. "I don't know," the young man at the Circulation Desk told me. "It doesn't tell me that on the computer." "Well, I'm not interested in paying fees for some books that presumably are overdue when I don't even know what they are." (I could not recall, wracking my pain-filled head, any time recently that I had even borrowed books, much less returned them late.) Of course the boy was puzzled; he did not know what to do. I imagine people normally just pay the fee and get the hell out with their books. Smooth ploy, Cashier's Office! So, he looked a little deeper (give this kid a bonus!) and discovered the fee was $30 for damages. "I know what that is!" I said. "Something like 2 years ago, I spilled water on a couple books about Albania, and I paid the fee." So, a girl behind the desk got on the computer to the Cashier's Office (ostensibly) and returned a verdict a couple minutes later that I was free to take the Tolstoy and the bar tour book and go. Before I went, though, I asked the guy who checked out the books if this would continue to happen to me: that I would be arrested at the Circulation Desk for an unrepented crime which I have already rectified. He assured me that the situation was now taken care of. We shall see.

3- (No, I didn't forget I was in the middle of a list here.)
REALLY, people who work daily with computers and are paid to do so, in clerical tasks, do not necessarily do their jobs correctly. Something like what I described with the library situation occurred later in the day when I sat down to look over a credit card statement and found I had been billed late in October for a service I had canceled early in October. Guess what? When I called the company, lo and behold, the representative on the line discovered that despite my relaying to him a cancellation number I had received at the time, I was still on the rolls as a member! I await next month's credit card statement, in which a refund should have been applied, with great relish.

OK, so I know I've done some bitching here this morning, but hey, think about it. What sorts of encounters have you had lately, without even a puke-inducing headache to spur you to a frenzy, that are similar? The FFM called last night, and in an hour-long conversation, we spent probably half the time not only with me regurgitating what I have yiped about above, but with him doing the same about his own computer and printer situation. Peeps, you see what's going on here, right?

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's Not Over Yet

I got an e-mail the other day from Don Siegelman saying the 11th Circuit Court of Atlanta will hear his appeal on December 9. Remember him? Former Governor of Alabama that the Bush Administration sent to maximum security prison? Siegelman says, "The hearing will begin at 9:00 A.M. My case may not be the first case to be heard but we are confident it will be over before noon.

"As you know the 11th Circuit Court let me out of prison pending the outcome of my appeal, saying that there were 'substantial questions of law and fact likely to result in a reversal.'

"While we are hopeful, please say a special prayer that the 11th Circuit will rule favorably and that this horrible legal ordeal will finally come to an end.

"Thank you so much for helping to get us this far down the road to freedom: freedom from the Bush administration, freedom from war and racial prejudice and freedom from injustice.

"I am especially grateful for all you have done for my family and me over these past several months and grateful for your help in keeping Congress focused on digging for the truth."

It's not too late to go to to encourage your Congresspeople to hold Karl Rove accountable.

That said, we all know that over the last 8 years, the President and the Executive Office of our government have assumed extraordinary powers that place our system of checks and balances in danger. I won't go into detail here. On Saturday night the FFM and I were up late watching Book TV on C-Span 2 (Haha! Yes! I was not the lone geek in this!) Two authors spoke from the Miami Book Show, Naomi Klein, author of "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism," and Jeremy Scahill, who wrote “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army." These two talked, among other subjects, of the need to hold current political leaders accountable for the crimes they have committed, before they are able to sneak out of paying for their actions (if they haven't already set forces in motion to make sure they are able to get away scot-free.)

Then, yesterday on a hike, a new friend questioned whether or not it is worthwhile to pursue these people, or whether we the American people should simply look ahead. I am not one to seek revenge, but the idea of allowing people in such power positions to set such dangerous precedents for some reason just really doesn't appeal much to me. Besides, crap, if we can bail out a bunch of richy-rich money guys who screwed up and made bad choices (which they knew they were making) with hundreds of billions of tax dollars, surely the next administration can forego a couple quail-and-lamb suckups, I mean suppers, for the leaders of 20 powerful and up-and-coming nations, to take care of the matter of putting the right people behind bars.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Still Spitting

First, if you go to, you will find everything in order there. I don't know why the other day I got the "unavailable" message, but that evening, despite aforementioned hesitation, I went on the site and shared my vision, and as Stephen Colbert might say, "I shared my vision, and so are you!" (Or maybe not)

Second, I just learned that my good friend Kathy had to put her dog Shadow to sleep on Veterans Day. Shadow was more than 15 years old and had lived a quality life until very recently. Kathy chose Tuesday because Shadow was a veteran dog. I didn't mention anything about honoring the veterans who have served this country on Tuesday, so I will do so belatedly. Veterans Day is traditionally set aside to recognize those who have served in a military capacity, and I for one am thankful that there are people who sign on to protect and defend us and abhor when those who wield political power put those men's and women's lives on the line for less than necessary reasons.

When I consider the term "veterans", I also think of other veterans, for example myself, a battle-scarred veteran educator who has gone into certain other trenches, and I believe those people, who have served the country's citizens and future, deserve recognition as well. It set me on edge to be working in the prep station at the museum the other day and to watch the young man in the General Biology class spit down from the balcony rail of the second floor onto the first floor where we were working, where people were milling around the exhibits... I'm wondering still, who raises a child to do such a thing? And don't forget who has to work with those kids, encourage, motivate, teach, coach, them for a good part of the day, with very little in the way of recourse anymore for addressing behavior like I saw.

It's like asking teachers to be Jesus, turn the other cheek, then watch the world burn down around because people have no respect.

OK, next and last subject for today: I just got the November BlogCatalog newsletter. Read this, and please check out the site and help spread the word:

Bloggers Unite For RefugeesOn
Monday November 10th, the BlogCatalog community came together like never before. According to BlogPulse, blog posts about refugees nearly doubled. According to Google search, more than 12,000 bloggers wrote about Bloggers Unite For Refugees. More than 2,500 included our program partner Refugees United (, which provides refugees with an anonymous forum to reconnect with missing family.

With the average contributing blogger reaching 200 readers, the plight of refugees may have reached as many 2.5 million readers, many of whom took action on Monday by writing letters to government officials and making donations to several worthwhile nonprofit organizations. The volume of posts also attracted the attention from Ode Magazine in California to the blog of Raju Nrisettiof, who writes for the The Wall Street Journal in India. This excludes the ongoing coverage of refugees by traditional media, which has been covering the estimated 100,000 refugees currently trapped in the Congo.

Today's pic is of Rocky Mountain National Park, as promised.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Alex The Talking Parrot and the Q of the Day

This guy was soooooo cool! The woman who worked with him before he died, Irene Pepperberg, just wrote a memoir titled "Alex and Me." Another book I'd like to add to my collection.

All that aside, here is the Question of the Day: Who raises a kid to go away to college and while on assignment for a General Bio class, walk to the top floor of a museum and spit down over the balcony rail to the floor below?

This is NOT a rhetorical question; really, it begs an answer. And if that is your kid, I'd like to warm your arse, too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pain is filtered

"Pain is filtered in a poem so that it becomes finally, in the end, pleasure."-- Mark Strand

The Remains
by Mark Strand
I empty myself of the names of others. I empty my pockets.
I empty my shoes and leave them beside the road.
At night I turn back the clocks;
I open the family album and look at myself as a boy.

What good does it do? The hours have done their job.
I say my own name. I say goodbye.
The words follow each other downwind.
I love my wife but send her away.

My parents rise out of their thrones
into the milky rooms of clouds. How can I sing?
Time tells me what I am. I change and I am the same.
I empty myself of my life and my life remains.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's Called a Representative Democracy

OK, so I'm back, with about a million things to say, but I'll stick to one this morning, in the interest of time. However, I will whet your appetite quickly first. Coming soon: Aubergine House Take II- the Japanese depiction; Rocky Mountain National Park- pictures; and much more!

A friend of mine, a very smart but generally relatively quiet friend, sent the following message this morning:

"I don't usually get involved in things like this, but I am for once.
"There's a website which is asking everyone to make suggestions for the new government: don't know if they will actually pay attention, but they might, and I haven't seen a lot said about this; I happened on it in a blog, and I think it's worth telling people about. "

Immediately, I had mixed feelings. I'm glad we have a President-Elect who really, and I do believe this, believe it or not, cares what We the People want and need from our government. (Though every time he calls me the Middle Class, or America in general the Middle Class, I get a little closer to wanting to discuss the definition of "middle class" with him.) Our President should care.

However, here is the meat of this sticky situation, as I returned to my friend:

"That's a tough one... the idea of suggestions for the new government. I mean, aren't we supposed to elect people to go represent us, and aren't those people supposed to represent our suggestions? For the most part? Having been involved in government at several levels, I know it's sometimes hard; I've had to make decisions I was certain were for the best of everyone down the road at the expense of the immediate gratification of my block of constituents, but..."

And there it is, peeps. We live in a big country in many smaller but still big states, with bigger populations, and all of that larger than when the Founding Fathers wrote our Constitution, and the bottom line is, for the most part, at the federal level we are supposed to be electing ladies and gentlemen from our states of residence to go to Washington DC to talk about our common problems and needs and what works and what doesn't and how our Government can take care of those common areas of interest that we cannot undertake on our own, individually, or as smaller governmental entities, ie. at the state or local level.
Amongst all this is our President, the head of the Executive Branch of our Government, and that person, also being part of the process, should care and ask the people what their problems and suggested solutions are, but there are inherent difficulties in doing that via a website.

First, we are stepping out of 8 years of a Presidential administration that assumed far more authority than would normally be allowed under the system of checks and balances that were set forth for this country, sometimes subversively, sometimes covertly, sometimes with outright disregard for the law of the land. The President does not actually wield that much power- or is not supposed to. In setting up a website in which the people go directly to the President with their gripes or alternatives to the way things are running now, is inviting that level of authority to continue, at the risk of our representative democracy and carefully crafted system of three branches of government.

This is not to say that I think Obama intends to or would assume the dictatorial stance that our outgoing President has done, but this move encourages the people to continue to think of the President's role in their lives as more important than anyone else's in government. Which leads me to:

Second, and possibly most importantly, if the people continue to view their government as one in which the President is Boss, this lessens the role of the people they are supposed to be assembling in Washington to represent them. And those people will continue to be held less and less accountable in matters of government. People, Senator Stevens of Alaska being voted in for another term hot on the heels of seven felony charges for which he was found guilty? WHAT?! As the polls show over and over the contempt, or at least lack of favour for Congress by the American people, I can't help but wonder why those same people keep electing those they feel do not represent them and they don't trust, to office? And why Americans don't get more involved and consider running for office at some level as their own civic duty? And that brings me to my concluding thought:

Actually, maybe it's a complete wash anyway. When I think of this website the President-Elect's office has set up (which I checked out and is not yet available), I imagine countless Sarah Palin supporters and laypersons who would like to define for all of us when a human actually becomes a human giving their opinions on how government should work next, and I shudder. I think Mr. Obama has better things to do with his time, given the current state of our Country, than check the suggestion box every day at breakfast.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I don't know why

I feel like taking a break. Maybe it's because I am still coming down from the elections. Maybe it's because I am still recuperating from the time change. I really am not sure where the week went. Last night I fell asleep on the living room floor about 5:30 and woke up when the FFM got here, and we ate dinner and then went right back to sleep.

I will come back after the weekend. I am very excited to be going to Rocky Mountain National Park for the first time ever!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Woohoo, Granite State!

Obama Wins Dixville Notch, NH, The First Place To Vote

DIXVILLE NOTCH, N.H. — Barack Obama came up a big winner in the presidential race in Dixville Notch and Hart's Location, N.H., where tradition of having the first Election Day ballots tallied lives on.

Democrat Obama defeated Republican John McCain by a count of 15 to 6 in Dixville Notch, where a loud whoop accompanied the announcement in Tuesday's first minutes. The town of Hart's Location reported 17 votes for Obama, 10 for McCain and two for write-in Ron Paul. Independent Ralph Nader was on both towns' ballots but got no votes.

"I'm not going to say I wasn't surprised," said Obama supporter Tanner Nelson Tillotson, whose name was drawn from a bowl to make him Dixville Notch's first voter.

With 115 residents between them, Dixville Notch and Hart's Location get every eligible voter to the polls beginning at midnight on Election Day. Between them, the towns have been enjoying their first-vote status since 1948.

Being first means something to residents of the Granite State, home of the nation's earliest presidential primary and the central focus _ however briefly _ of the vote-watching nation's attention every four years.

Town Clerk Rick Erwin said Dixville Notch is proud of its tradition, but added, "The most important thing is that we exemplify a 100 percent vote."

Dixville Notch resident Peter Johnson said the early bird electoral exercise "is fun." A former naval aviator, Johnson said he was voting for McCain, but added, "I think both candidates are excellent people."

Voting was carried out in a room in a local hotel festooned with political memorabilia from campaigns long past. Each voter gets an individual booth so there are no lines at the magic hour. The votes were quickly counted, announced and recorded on a posterboard that proclaims, "First in the Nation, Dixville Notch."

The tradition drew spectators, including Tim McKenna, who drove with his wife 16 miles from Cambridge, N.H., to witness the event.

"Living in New Hampshire, you hear so much about it in the news," said McKenna. "I think it's a very historic election this year."

Ed Butler, a Democratic state representative who runs the Notchland Inn in Hart's Location, said, "Being this small and being able to be first just makes it that much more special."

Although scores of states have voted early, the two villages are the first to officially announce the results on Election Day.

New Hampshire law requires polls to open at 11 a.m., but that doesn't stop towns from opening earlier. It also allows towns to close their polls once all registered and eligible voters have cast ballots.

Hart's Location started opening its polls early in 1948, the year Harry S. Truman beat Thomas Dewey, to accommodate railroad workers who had to get to work early. Hart's Location got out of the early voting business in 1964 after some residents grew weary of all the publicity, but brought it back in 1996.

Dixville Notch, nestled in a mountain pass 1,800 feet up and about halfway between the White Mountain National Forest and the Canadian border, followed suit in 1960, when John F. Kennedy beat Richard M. Nixon. Nixon, the Republican, swept all nine votes cast in Dixville that year, and before Tuesday, the town had gone for a Democrat only once since then. That was in 1968, when the tally was Democrat Hubert Humphrey eight, Nixon four.

Glenn Adams, The Huffington Post:

Seriously, now, into the shower and off to the voting booth.

Mmm, Donuts, Take II

In order that I might find time to vote today, I feel the need to boldly rip off today's entertainment directly from another source. Enjoy:

Why we vote on Tuesday... and other election fun facts

You've studied the issues and cast your ballot. Now all that's left to do is bide your time until the results start coming in for John McCain and Barack Obama. To help you in that effort, we introduce a list of election fun facts for your brain-candy pleasure.

Why do we vote on a Tuesday... in November?The short answer: We used to be a nation of farmers. The long answer: Congress chose November because the harvest was over and the weather wouldn't be bad enough to prevent people from traveling. As for Tuesday, people used to have to travel overnight to their polling location. (In 1845, horse was the preferred method of transport.) In an effort to avoid religious days of rest, Congress chose Tuesday, leaving Monday and Wednesday as travel days. Tuesday was voting (and horse-resting) day.
Our partners at CNN give us this fun video with more deets:

Presidential campaigns vs. potato chips
This one comes courtesy of George Will's column:
The Center for Responsive Politics calculates that, by Election Day, $2.4 billion will have been spent on presidential campaigns in the two-year election cycle that began in January 2007, and an additional $2.9 billion will have been spent on 435 House and 35 Senate contests. This $5.3 billion is a billion less than Americans will spend this year on potato chips.

No Yalies, Bushes or Clintons on the ticket
This is the first election since 1980 that a Bush or a Clinton hasn't been on the ticket.

And this one is courtesy NBC's First Read:
This will be the first time in 40 years that Yale will not have one of its former students on the ballot as president or vice president. Not since Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew battled Hubert H. Humphrey and Edmund Muskie in 1968 has Yale been shut out.

Election Day freebies
Did you know that a series of national vendors are giving stuff to voters? They are. Who knew that the "I Voted" sticker was worth more than the pride of knowing you cast your ballot?Starbucks is giving away a tall cup of brewed coffee on the house. (I guess that means my beloved chai latte is still on me.)
Between 5 and 8pm, Ben and Jerry's is celebrating democracy by giving away a free scoop of ice cream.
Krispy Kreme is giving away a star-shaped doughnut with "patriotic sprinkles" to anyone wearing an "I Voted" sticker.

God bless democracy, huh?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Library of the Lost

Especially for Boss T, from Robot Chicken, Season 3: