Archive for November, 2008

Questions: The Home Edition …

Since I’m home for the Thanksgiving weekend, I figured I’d compose a bunch of questions relating to childhood and hometowns. Many of these assume you have parents who are still alive and a ‘normal’ upbringing (you know, nuclear family and all), so please accept my apologies if this isn’t the case and feel free to adjust the question if at all possible (by going back in time or thinking about your own children perhaps) to fit your own situation.

1) Last week, I used nothing but my hypnotic good looks and the enchanting sound of my typing to send you back to your teenage years and have you recall some notable pop culture experiences from that time in your life. Now I want to take you back further, to your earlier childhood, when you were still cute and innocent, your mind a relatively blank slate, with only thousands of media impressions filling it instead of the pop culture junkyard it has now become. For the following categories, please choose the one example from your preteen years that first jumps out (my answers in parentheses).

TV show (Family Ties/Electric Company)

Movie: (ET)

Album: (Thriller by The Gloved One)

Toy: (Intellivision Hockey)

Ad/Commercial: Ancient Chinese Secret (I forget what it was for – a detergent??)

Book: (Superfudge)

2.Who was the first crush that you remember? When was it? Was it requited? (Mine: Susan Appel, kindergarten, No, but she was my first French kiss in a 6th (7th?) grade game of spin the bottle)

3. I love when I go back home. I have no responsibilities, and I immediately regress. How much younger do you feel when you visit the parents, and which household chore do you most enjoy not doing while home? (10 years, laundry)

4. My parents still live in the same house from my childhood, and I hope they never leave. Do your parents still live in your childhood home. If so, isn’t it the best? If not, does it still feel like ‘home’ when you visit?

5. Where did you grow up and what percentage of your childhood/high school friends still live in your hometown? (Mine: St. Louis, I’d say about 50%)

6. Assuming you have since moved on from where you spent the majority of your childhood, do you still root for those ‘hometown’ sports teams or have you adopted new ones from the place you now live (or some other place you’ve lived)?

7. Where did you most often hang out as a teenager (Mine: Denny’s)?

8. Do you have any good high school dance stories (I have a couple, which I’ll give when I have more time)?

9. Ethical question: Last night, the fam went to a little play at a shopping center, and ended up eating out afterward at a restaurant that advertised in the program a ‘15% off your bill’ special if you show your ticket stub. The server only briefly looked at and did not take the stubs before giving us the discount. Is it unethical to give those stubs to a family waiting in the restaurant lobby? What about if we gave to a family walking outside which we knew for a fact would not have gone to that restaurant if we hadn’t given them the ticket stubs? Is it unethical for either family to use the stubs?

10. Can you ever really, truly go home again?

Thanksgiving Surprise …

So my girlfriend and I decided a couple of months ago to surprise my parents with a trip home. The folks knew my brother was coming in, but I had told them that the flights were too expensive, especially since we had just seen them in August out in California for a cousin’s wedding. But I changed my mind and bought the tickets soon after, and then continued to tell repeated lies about our plans for the holiday Laughing.

I knew this would be an especially meaningful Thanksgiving given that last year at this time, my dad had a heart attack and underwent major bypass surgery that almost killed him with a lung complication known as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Then, a couple of weeks ago, my dad got laid off from his job. My mom told me several times how excited they were that my brother was coming home so they had something to look forward to. It was not easy to keep silent but I did Sealed

Anyway, we arrived on Tuesday. My brother had come in earlier in the day after almost missing his flight, which ended up being a good thing because his luggage was put on a later plane, conveniently giving him a legitimate excuse to come back to the airport to pick us up when we got in that evening. We decided on the way home that my brother would drop us off a bit up the street from our house, and then go home alone and tell mom and dad that by the time he got to the airport, the luggage was already on route and being delivered to the house by the airline.

A few minutes later, my girlfriend and I arrived at the door with my brother’s luggage and we captured the moment on my Flip video camera. (The one mistake I made was not telling my brother to go to the bathroom so that one of my folks would be forced to open the door!!). Here’s what happened …

MOFT: Episode 1

Welcome to the first installment of My One Favorite Thing. This will be a regular (maybe weekly) post on the one thing I’m really digging at the moment. It could be a game or activity, an album or song, a movie or TV show, a person, a food, or just about anything at all.

MOFT (pronounced Mahf-tee) this week is Geo Challenge, a geography game on Facebook. The game is actually three minigames in one: You have to match the flag to the country in round 1, name the country just by looking at its shape in round 2, and then place cities in their correct place on the world map in round 3.

Like all Facebook games created by Playfish, Geo Challenge is incredibly addictive and made more so by the fact that you can see the high scores of all of your friends (as well as the top 104 scores by everyone on Facebook, though in my opinion it’s full of cheating foreigners). I am now in a silent but obvious battle for supremacy with someone I went to college with and haven’t talked to since graduation. It’s quite clear neither one of us wants to relinquish the top spot as for the last several mornings I’ve awoken only to discover that the bastard has outscored me again, forcing me to delay all normal life activities until I have regained my rightful position as His Royal Geo Challenge Grand Poobah Master Bigness.

I will warn you: there is a downside to Geo Challenge. Every time I close my eyes to go to sleep, I now see various flags floating around in my head. Oh look there’s the Netherlands, or is it France turned 90 degrees? And look, there’s Antarctica and Cyprus, countries so devoid of creativity that its flag is a picture of its country (and yet I heartily appreciate the approach of Libya – its plain green flag is minimalistic, eco-friendly, and best of all, insanely easy to identify when it comes up in the game)

And just in case you don’t think there’s not any practical value with Geo Challenge, well, ok, there’s not, but it was kind of cool today that I was in a cab today and passed a building with two flags hanging outside and immediately identified them as Bulgaria and the European Union flag.

Ah, my life is sad …

I am thankful for bloodless inquisitions …

More Questions: Thanksgiving Edition … Remember, a more robust answer/comment section on this post appears over at dagblog.com!

1) Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Focus on the sound of my typing. OK, now we’re going to go back, way back in time, all the way to your teenage years. That’s right. Relax. Don’t be scared. They can’t hurt you now. OK, now that we’re a teenager again, I’m going to give you a pop culture medium and I want you to tell me the first thing that pops into your mind, perhaps the example that best defines that period in your life or perhaps just something you remember vividly for whatever reason. OK, ready? (Please, just ignore the acne for a moment)

(My choices in parentheses)

TV show? (Seinfeld) …

Movie? (Field of Dreams) …

Album? (Rattle and Hum) …

Video game? (Super Mario Bros.) …

Book? (The Great Gatsby) …

Ok, great. Next week, we’ll go back even further.

2) Wait, before we bring you back to the present, one more question: What homemade dish did your mom or dad make that you remember the best??

3) Speaking of childhood pleasures, do you still play with bubble wrap and are you as pissed as I am that most packages now come with this way un-fun air-filled bag wrapping or even worse, imposter bubble wrap whose bubbles you can’t pop?? What the Ef is that?

4) Crossword puzzles or Sudoku? Assuming you’re cool like me and say crosswords, what day for NYT puzzles can you normally complete without Googling? Despite years of practice, I’m sadly just a Wed. guy myself, tho I can usually do 80-plus percent of Thursday’s and actually usually get close on the Sunday magazine one, which is easily my favorite …

5) As you can tell from my pic, I don’t like shaving and avoid it whenever possible. I also find the razor blade arms race to be annoying; I believe the innovation worked for a while, but then it just became overkill. I stopped at the battery-powered three-blade gizmo. What do you use: b) two-blades c) three blades d) four blades e) five blades f) electric razor g) cheap disposable razor h) other (please describe)?

For our female daggers, from which body parts do you wax/bleach/trim hair on a regular basis (choose all that apply): a) Arms b) armpits c) legs d) upper lip e) butt f) genital region??

6) Do you think that somebody who has sex or gets involved with someone who they know is in another relationship and having an illicit affair has a right to expect fidelity from their own partners? I believe that even if you aren’t the cheating one, by enabling an affair, you are on some level condoning the behavior.

7) I believe I’ve found the key to spotting market bubbles: Track which industries are suddenly able to afford outrageous rent costs. When I was in San Francisco in the late nineties, every new office space was being gobbled up by dot-coms. In New York, every time a store or restaurant closed in my neighborhood the last couple of years, a bank took its place. By that measure, what do you think the next bubble will come from? (I say either pawn shops or sushi joints.)

8) I love to play a couple of Facebook games, like Who Has the Biggest Brain or Geo Challenge, which keep track of everybody’s scores. Yet while I can beat many if not all of my friends (mostly because i get obsessive), it seems like ALL of the top scores are filled by foreign users (many with Middle Eastern/Israeli-sounding names), and the scores are not even close to the ones I’m getting. Many in the message boards accuse the foreigners of cheating … Are foreigners less honest than Americans or just way smarter?

9) I enjoy wine, but the whole wine fetish crowd tends to annoy me. The seemingly arbitrary pricing, the detailed etiquette of choosing which wine with what food, of using the right glass with the right wine, the elaborate process of tasting the wine and holding the glass correctly, the goofy adjectives they use to describe the wine. Do you believe there’s a real science to wine connoisseurship or it’s just a bunch of pretentious hokum?

10) What are you most thankful for this year?

Terror speaks … and again shows its true colors …

So Al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader (or maybe its no. 1, if rumors of Osama’s demise have any credence) released a taped message today, re-declaring war on America and calling its new President-elect a ‘house negro.’

In the 11-minute audiotape message, Ayman al-Zawahri also used the same term to refer to Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell, while the accompanying video shows Barack wearing a Jewish yamulke (skullcap) as he met with Jewish leaders. Al-Zawahri further warned that any attempt to send more troops to Afghanistan will be met with failure as the dogs of that country ‘have found the flesh of your soldiers to be delicious.’

Lovely. Just lovely.

My fear of course is that this message was also a call to action. With America’s economy teetering on the edge of collapse and with a lame duck administration running out the clock, it would be a smart tactical strategy on al Qaida’s part to strike again if they are capable of doing so given that we are apparently at our most vulnerable.

But while a successful attack, god forbid, could prove to be devastating in the short-term and cause plenty of havoc, I remain as confident as ever that this country will find a way to presevere.

Excuse me for going all jingoistic here for a moment, but is there any better example of America’s enduring character than what happened earlier this month … that without one drop of blood shed, the people of this country decided to reject the imperious, divisive policies and politics of the past eight years, and elected a black man … with Muslim ancestry … named Barack Hussein Obama … to the highest office of the land.

That one simple action – a democratic vote ushering in a new adminstration and guiding ideology –  provided a vivid display of the progressiveness and flexibility that has kept America strong and vibrant throughout its history. It’s also something that the Islamic fundamentalists, with their tactics of hatred and terror, their racial epithets and talk of flesh-eating dogs, will never understand.

More Questions …

It’s question time again. I’ve been posting these columns first on the dagblog.com site I’ve been working on and contributing to, and it’s been cool to see the rather extensive reader response to them. Check it out and be sure to subscribe to the dagblog RSS feed – we’re adding new, talented bloggers constantly. Here’s the link.

1) The NHL hockey season started a few weeks back. For you this means: A) Absolutely nothing B) Something to watch IF there’s no college football, pro football, pro basketball, Poker, English Premier soccer, Nascar, cricket, Dancing with the Stars, AND I can somehow find the VS. channel on my cable system C) The return of one of the most exciting games in the world, a wonderful symphony of grace, violence, and unbelievable athleticsm that is punctuated by the best postseason period in sports.

2) Have you ever owned a Bobblehead? Who was it of?

3) So a few weeks ago, I wanted to know how I could learn about good music, and one of the most common answers was ‘friends’ … So, dear dagfriends, what must I immediately add to my music collection – popular to obscure, rock to jazz, and everything in between, I’m open to anything.

4) As long as I’m asking for pop culture recommendations, my Tivo viewing schedule has gotten surprisingly small (Daily Show/Colbert Report, Family Guy, Office, 30 Rock, Jeopardy, Heroes (barely, that show is really losing me), and House). Any other shows that i should absolutely be watching, esp. new shows???

5) Why have laundromats/dry cleaners resisted the national chain trend? I understand it’s a business that’s hard to differentiate and where proximity trumps all other considerations, but you would think scale could still matter. Yet they’re still all mom-and-pop shops. What’s with that?

6) How is it possible that some people shop to make themselves feel better?? I just got back from buying stuff, and it made me instantly depressed. The crowds, the lines, the cold, heartless materialism of it all, the knowing that I don’t have room in my apartment for what I’m buying and that I probably don’t need what I’m buying anyway, the walking home past panhandlers while carrying several bags on each arm. This really gives pleasure to people??

7) I plan on sitting my child down (assuming I have one one day) as soon as I think he or she can understand the logic of this statement:

“You are the most important thing in this world to me, and I want to give you everything I can and do everything I can to make you happy. But there will be times where I just will not, for different reasons, which I will try to explain to you as best I can, be able to get you what it is you want. I hope you will understand that and realize that crying and crying about it won’t help, and will only make me upset.”

For all you parents out there, do you think that will work at all to limit outbursts?

8 ) I know corporal punishment is a no-no, and illegal in many countries, but don’t you have to spank a misbehaving kid at least once to show it’s an option, even if it’s the nuclear option you never hope to use again …

9) Now that I have asked the previous two questions, should I be sterilized?

10) For those of you who went to college, do you think your liberal arts education was largely an inefficient waste of time – an enjoyable, inefficient waste of time, but an inefficient waste of time nonetheless? If not, defend it.

Dealing out a bunch of hooey and driving me mad …

It’s bad enough the government will soon be doling out billions and billions of taxpayer dollars to bail out the bloated, mismanaged U.S. auto industry.

But please, please, do not give any of that money to the nation’s car dealers.

According to a Yahoo story, an auto bailout package is likely to pass in large part because of pressure from the American auto dealership lobby. Even worse, a spokesman for the National Automobile Dealers Association says he wants dealers to get some of that money.

“That legislation needs to operate to ensure the presence and the viability of the dealer network. The two go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other,” the spokesman said. Another industry lobbyist said dealers are bringing a ‘lot of heat’ on legislators to get a deal passed.

Ugh. I can’t stand the car dealership lobby. There are thousands of car dealerships in the U.S., in almost every district in the nation. They have a ton of money and yield far too much influence in our political system. The automobile dealer network is an inefficient, outdated business model which has only continued to thrive because of its successful political wrangling.

You want to know why you can’t go on the Internet today and buy a car directly from a manufacturer (or even from a dealer)? Because in most states, the auto dealer lobby has made sure that direct selling of cars is illegal. The best you can do is go to a site and ask for a quote from your local dealer, who will undoubtedly try and upsell you a whole bunch of stuff you don’t need as soon as you get to her lot.

I’ve only had to go through the car purchase process once but I remember it being about as unpleasant as can be, as I was quite sure I was being screwed in a thousand different ways. The Internet has helped level the information playing field somewhat, but it could have done so much more if car dealers hadn’t successfully resisted almost all efforts at innovation.

Unfortunately for the US taxpayer, it’s mostly business as usual … on their lots AND in the hallways of Congress.

Obama will mean the end of capitalism!!! (Whoops, too late) …

The day after Obama won the election, a Republican friend of mine on Facebook joined a group that planned on getting together on Inauguration Day to mourn ‘The End of Capitalism as We Know It’*.

Members of the group were waxing bitter in the message board, complaining about how Obama was a socialist who was going to destroy the U.S. economy.

I had to laugh … and cry.

Cry because these people were so caught up in their own right-wing economic philosophies (many of which I actually agree with) that they couldn’t even for one moment take the time to appreciate the historical significance of what this country’s voters had just done.

No matter what your politics, every one should be able to do what John McCain eloquently did on election night: Recognize that this country has taken a large, profound step to move past its racist beginnings (and recent history) and elected a candidate that preached unity and bipartisanship and re-engaged vast segments of the American people by inspiring a renewed sense of hope and idealism.

But many of Obama’s opponents don’t even want to give him a fighting chance. They believe he is doomed to fail and his liberal agenda will cause the collapse of the American empire and its glorious capitalist experiment … which is why I also had to laugh when I read those messages.

That experiment has already failed. The empire is already collapsing. Socialism is already here … And it all happened under a Republican administration.

Just today, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson generously let the American people know that after careful deliberation, the $700 billion he asked for from Congress is now going to be put to a vastly different use than was originally intended.

Money that was supposed to be used to buy up bad loans and mortgages rotting away on the balance sheets of banks and gumming up our credit system is now going to be doled out  (in a command-control style, I may add) to buy stakes in troubled banks, as well as potentially help out a number of as-of-yet unspecified companies in as-of-yet unspecified non-financial industries.

(So much for the program’s name: TARP, Troubled Asset Relief Program. Calling it the Tits and Ass Relief Program would have made about as much sense).

Mark my words: The cost of this program will end up far exceeding $1 trillion (though we may eventually get some of that money back). And that’s in addition to the hundreds of billions the Fed has already spent trying to buck up our decrepit financial system.

Instead of facing the consequences of a decade-long U.S. consumer spending binge, which was encouraged and exacerbated by a housing/credit bubble caused by our government’s easy money policies, we are flailing around haphazardly, trying anything and everything to bail our way out of this mess. But all we are doing is throwing good money after bad, and leaving future generations of Americans an enormous, crippling pile of debt.

The most egregious example of this will likely be the auto industry bailout that is quickly becoming a political inevitability. Right now, the best I can hope for is that the money comes attached with some sort of regulatory plan and set of conditions. If changes aren’t made to the auto companies’ operating structure (i.e. mainly, a renegotiated contract with the labor unions), they’ll be facing the same dire situation a few months down the road because they just cannot currently compete with the lower-cost manufacturers in Japan and throughout the rest of Asia.

Do I think an auto bailout is a good idea? No way. I’d much rather see GM and Ford be allowed to go bankrupt, and work to restructure their operations through that process, while we spend the money we’ll be using in the bailout to retrain displaced workers and invest in start-ups pursuing new green energy technologies. But I understand millions of jobs are at stake. I understand that the American people would find it hard to understand why Wall Street and the fat cat elites who work there and produce nothing of tangible value got bailed out while the manufacturing engine of the country was left to wither on the vine.

The fact of the matter is, America has never been a purely capitalistic system. We came to grips some time ago that capitalism without safety nets ends up benefiting the few at the expense of the many, and will eventually destroy itself through social instability. That’s why we have Social Security, and welfare, and Medicare, and public schooling and student loan programs, etc. etc.

But it is still quite ironic that the biggest government nationalization and socialist expansion efforts in decades will be coming at the end of a Republican administration that never pursued the fiscal responsibility platform of the conservative movement and is now too afraid to deal with the nasty flip side of the free market policies it espoused.

——————————————–

*I think that was the name of the group – I can’t find it on Facebook any longer … maybe they, too, realized the insanity of their hypothesis

Yo Deadman, please don’t hurt ‘em …

Ring the bell, school’s back in, break it down … Stop. Question time!

10) Ok, several days have passed. Are you still smiling and dancing, or do you find yourself suffering a bit from some sort of post-partum-like depression?

9) Not that I would know anything about this, but which is a more important element of looking good on the dance floor: Rhythm or self-confidence?

8) So I turned 35 this week. Is it lame that one of the things that most annoys me about this age is that I can no longer check off the 18-34 age group in surveys?

7) My awesome girlfriend got me one of those comfy leather recliners for my birthday (we once got in a fight because she said she thought those chairs were ugly and didn’t want one in her apartment while I insisted they were one of man’s god-given rights), and I have now fallen asleep while watching TV on that chair each of the past several nights. Have I become my dad?

6) Why or how did humans evolve so that they crave and demand variety in their meals? Every day, my dog acts like a Democrat who just found out Obama has won the presidency (i.e. like a delirious nut bag) when I take a scoop into his jar of food, even though I’m preparing to give him the exact same crap I always do. It seems like it’d be so much easier and more efficient if we humans could also be content eating the same thing every day.

5) Which is worse: Sarah Palin’s ignorance; the McCain advisers who chose Palin despite her ignorance; or the fact that those same advisers are now just piling on, anonymously leaking to the press more examples of that ignorance and suggesting she torpedoed the campaign?

4) One of the ironies of the election was that the heavy black turnout caused by Obama’s candidacy contributed to the passage of Prop 8 in California, which outlaws gay marriages. Do you believe the civil rights struggle of homosexuals is equivalent to the African-American struggle. If not, what is the difference? (This is not a trick question; I think there can be legitimate debate here, though in the end I personally don’t think there’s a difference.)

3) If you could find out the exact date of your death, but couldn’t do anything to change it, would you want to know? If you found out you were going to die within the next 12 months, what would be the biggest change you’d make in your life?

2) I have plenty of regrets in my life. One of them I remember well is telling a childhood friend in first grade that there was no Santa Claus, which was a really crappy thing to do (especially so cuz I’m Jewish). Do you remember when you first found out there was no Santa Claus and what was your reaction? (My apologies if I have once again spilled the beans and destroyed any delusions you may harbor).

1) Please look at the attached map below. It’s a graphical display of the voting trends in Tuesday’s election compared to 2004. The blue sections are areas where people voted more heavily Democratic; the bluer the section, the bigger the change.

Which of the following facts does this map reveal (Choose all that apply): a) The Republican brand and agenda is dying b) The Democratic brand and agenda is ascending c) Barack Obama was a better candidate than John Kerry or d) Damn, the South is disturbingly full of racists, esp. Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

2208 Voting Trends

Bittersweet …

Looks like Prop 8 is going to pass in California. It’s a shame that on a historic night in American politics, the voters of one of this country’s bluest states may have decided to take a step backward for civil rights. Hate to throw out anything negative out there on a day like today, but the lack of leadership on gay marriage by leading Democratic politicians, including our President-elect and Vice President-elect, is probably one of the reason the progress has been halting at best on the issue. Alas, support for gay marriage doesn’t appear to be feasible right now for politicians with national aspirations, or at the least, no one appears brave enough to test that piece of conventional wisdom.

On the positive front, marijuana decriminalization continues to take tiny steps forward, with measures being passed in Michigan and Massachusetts. Doctor-assisted suicide law passed in Washington. A renewable energy initiative passed in Missouri (though that doesn’t take the sting out of my hometown state’s likely pick of McCain). And somewhat surprisingly, pro-life initiatives were voted down in South Dakota and Colorado.

Best birthday ever …

I turned 35 at midnight tonight, about the exact same time Obama began his acceptance speech in Chicago. I couldn’t have received a better birthday gift. I will never forget this night. You should have seen the love and camaraderie being displayed in New York, between and among complete strangers who like me just couldn’t stop smiling. If a night like tonight doesn’t make one proud to be an American, and hopeful for the future, I don’t know what could.

Just a quick note to to finish up before I TRY to go to bed tonight (the adrenaline may not let me), I wanted to post one of the more poignant signs I saw tonight, displayed at a Obama rally in New Jersey and shown during one of the local news reports. It read (with a little bit of editing):

Rosa sat,

so Martin could walk,

so Barack could run,

so our children could fly.

I’ll obviously never be able to understand the African-American experience, but I thought that was just beautiful poetry.

The future as I see it, through someone else’s eyes …

Today I read an article on the Web that I wanted to share because it jibes pretty much perfectly with my vision of the near future for this country, particularly in relation to its economic, social and political status. It’s not a pretty picture. But it’s what I see ahead.

The piece was written by Doug Kass, a hedge fund investor and contributor to TheStreet.com, who is one of the stock market and economic commentators I admire the most. At the end of every year, Kass fearlessly gives out his predictions for the following year, and they have proven to be eerily accurate (despite the fact that most of them are what I would consider somewhat extreme). He correctly predicted the current economic crisis, the rise in commodity prices, the fall in the dollar as well as the crash on Wall Street. He’s not always right (earlier this summer, he called for a trading bottom in financial stocks that was waaayyy too early) but his track record is amazing.

Enjoy … (well not really, but read it anyway)

Question time …

Happy Halloween all! Last week, I threw out a bunch of questions I had been asking myself lately, and people seemed to enjoy the post, responding with some incredibly wise and insightful, or at least terribly smartass, answers. So, I figured I’d do it again, maybe even make it a weekly thing. Without further ado …

1) Will there be more Jokers or Joe the Plumbers out there tonight? (If you’re answering this and Halloween is already over, reply with the actual answer)

2) Why do parents wait until the last minute to buy Halloween costumes? The costume place by me was absolutely crawling with kids last night, and there was a line to get in the store. Don’t they know it comes the same time every year?

3) If you win a World Series and no one in the world is watching, have you really won a World Series? (No offense, Philly fans, I’m just so happy you out-underrated the 2006 World Series, when my Cardinals won the title and no one seemed to care because a New York and Boston team wasn’t playing)

4) Agree or disagree: Obama’s non-selection of Hillary as VP was one of his best moves of the campaign. I say yes, and not because Biden’s been a big help (I’m a fan but he’s been a neutral at best), but by not picking Hilary, it led McCain straight to Palin’s frigid Alaskan door, and that’s a gift that keeps on giving (They’re now talking about her as a leading candidate in 2012, which boggles the mind but warms the heart)

5) Give me your best guess of the percentages for voter turnout as well as Obama’s popular vote total on Tuesday? I say 64 and 53, respectively.

6) Can you think of any any worse, more terrfiying way to die than in an airplane crash? I’m talking only about relatively common and immediate forms of death, so no death by testicle tickle torture or long terminal illness. Seriously, the idea of having to endure ten or more minutes of being able to do nothing but imagine your imminent death while being surrounded by screaming people and unbelievable turbulence as a 100,000 lb. aircraft hurtles earthward at an accelerating pace, frightens me to no end. But maybe that’s just me.

7) Genghis got me thinking with his W. movie review, what was the last good Oliver Stone movie?

8) When was the last time you listened to music on a terrestrial radio that wasn’t in a car? Talk about a dead medium. And good riddance.

9) It’s not because of radio’s demise, but I feel I’ve stopped learning about good new music. How can I fix that?

10) And finally, shifting to a much more exciting medium, please rank the following positive, life-changing attributes of the Internet in order of greatness:

  1. E-commerce (Amazon, ebay, craigslist)
  2. E-mail and IM
  3. Comparison Shopping and Reviews
  4. Online gaming (social and multimedia)
  5. Facebook. Social Networking and the ability to transcend physical borders
  6. Maps and Step-by-step directions
  7. Free Porn available in any fetish imaginable
  8. Search, Wikipedia and the ability to find almost any piece of info
  9. dagblog.com
  10. Other (List your own piece of Internet enjoyment)

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