Hot flashes are usually a private matter. Alison Teal shares hers.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

* Friday was the first day the Secret Service was assigned to candidates. So, that night in Oakland, Kerry delayed his speech at the Oakland Teamsters’ rally for well over an hour as three-thousand people filed through a single airport metal detector. The minute Kerry arrived, everything was okay. The wait was worth it. People came away filled with hope and energy. But it was clear there will be very little retail politics from here on out.

In 1968, there was no Secret Service at McCarthy’s California rally in Watts. It was a natural, right? McCarthy in Watts. We advertised it as a massive free barbecue. Hundreds and hundreds of pounds of ribs, melons and soft drinks were donated, along with God knows what else. Remember this was before Campaign Finance Reform.

As I remember it, my friend, Rick GrandJean, and I, along with two Green Berets, arrived an hour or so before McCarthy was to turn up. People were just beginning to arrive, but the melons and soft drinks were there and so were the ribs – frozen solid – piled next to a single backyard charcoal grill. We panicked. I shouldn’t say ‘we’. I don’t know what Rick and the Green Berets were feeling. It was difficult to discern their emotions as they high tailed it out of the park. I could only assume they were concerned over the absence of condiments. I was left alone, a young white girl with hundreds of frozen ribs and a single barbecue in the middle of Watts. The park began to fill with families. The charcoal was lighted, the melons were cut and I began grilling ribs, a couple dozen at a time. Soon McCarthy arrived, flanked on either side by two enormous African Americans with bare chests and necklaces of animal teeth. They were followed by a confused group of local politicians and volunteers. While people waited in a two-hour line for a single rib, McCarthy spoke. He selected this moment for a major foreign policy speech. It was delivered to a hungry and mystified audience, but the event was a huge success. It wasn’t what the crowd had come for or expected or even wanted, and probably very few of them ended up actually voting for McCarthy, but they loved him for not talking down to them. The next day Rick and the Green Berets explained how sorry they were to leave, but they had a lot of important phone calls to make.

Hot Flashes From The Campaign Trail
February 25, 2004
* This needs to be short today, because apparently Sam and I are on the brink of real trouble and we need to take the time to examine our problems right away. Until yesterday, I didn’t know the grave danger facing our marriage. Over the weekend, when we saw all those patient, joyful couples waiting in line in San Francisco to declare a very personal commitment to each other, I didn’t understand what they really wanted was to nullify all heterosexual marriages. Thank God for the President’s vigilance, I told Sam. We might not have even known our marriage was under attack. “Pass the wine,” Sam said.

* Berkeley is in bloom, not just the plum trees, Calla Lilies, Star Jasmine, Magnolias, Daphnes, Datura and Rhododendron, but also the streets. Nobel Peace Prize winners from Berkeley – and there are lots of them -- are celebrated in banners all up and down Telegraph. The area around the Berkeley Rep has been reborn as the Arts District. And Kucinich “Hope Begins” signs bloom in the median strips. Ah, Berkeley.

* My favorite contribution at the fundraiser we gave Sunday with our friends, John and Linda Gage, was from Elizabeth Herzberg, a wonderful hair stylist. She had been saving her tax rebate since last fall to give to some worthy cause and this was it. “Who do they think they’re kidding?” she said, “They think this rebate is going to change my life? I need better schools and health care, not $250 in a tax rebate.” Wouldn’t it be great to get everyone to give their rebate to Kerry?!

Saturday, February 21, 2004

* For five months we’ve been living out of our car. By the time we get to California, we will have traveled over 14,000 miles. The Volvo is our office, closet and too often our dining room. What this means is that we have had way, way too much face time. Here’s how it works. Sam does the driving, all the driving. I have no idea why. When we had children at home I did all the driving. Somehow mandatory business meetings always cropped up right before coast-to-coast car trips with the kids. Anyway, Sam does the driving now, but not before we have a daily argument about which of us is the safer driver. My view is there should always be two hands on the wheel -- an insupportable position that no self-respecting male could possibly hold. Apparently it is important for one hand to be either resting on the gear shift (a vestigial instinct for men of a certain age), holding a cup of coffee, or cradling a mobile phone so that, in case of emergency, that hand is thoroughly rested and ready to leap into action. Don’t get me wrong, Sam thinks people who talk on a cell phone while holding it to an ear are treacherous drivers. He insists on an earphone, but still holds the cell phone in his resting hand in case another call comes in. With remarkable frequency, it does, so thank God he’s prepared. (Sam is not retired and is not likely to be anytime soon. He works on his business every day – much of it while driving. The rest of the time he’s making money calls for Kerry. The phone is his main excuse for his irresponsible one-handed behavior) Sometimes he has neither hand on the wheel because they’re both around my throat.

Next to him -- in the death seat -- I have the computer and my cell phone plugged into cigarette lighters. Food, trash and stacks of Books-on-Tape, Cds and DVDs are at my feet; cameras, makeup, and the refrigerator are within reach in the back. Yes. A refrigerator. I was against buying this car, preferring to set out in either our thirteen-year-old Suburban or in the Honda Civic hybrid we had just purchased in an effort to bring our fleet mileage average down. It was the picture of the refrigerator in the brochure that sold me. (That, and the fact that our son, Nicholas totaled the Honda in September.) The Volvo picture was glorious: a middle-aged couple tailgating while watching a curling tournament. On the picnic table that fastens to the rear of the car was a red-checkered tablecloth laden with bruchetta, carpaccio and a delicious-looking sun-dried tomato pasta. Behind it all was this adorable little refrigerator filled with champagne. I was hooked. This was the life I imagined – except for the curling part.

So here we are, just having passed Point of Rocks, Wyoming, a town of some 20 trailers, with a Laundromat / fireworks store, and a Conoco station/deli/video store/Post Office. – all staffed by one lucky employee. We are approaching Flaming George Dam and Cruel Jack’s Travel Plaza. I’m hungry, but not hungry enough to eat the Twizzlers under my feet. The refrigerator is filled with sodas, V8 and string cheese, or at least I think it is. It’s been buried for weeks under suitcases, winter coats and boots, Kerry signs, FedEx boxes, medical records and photographs.

* There is a strict mistress buried deep inside the Volvo’s navigation system who scolds us when we stray from her chosen course. Being from Sweden, she prefers routes through frozen tundra that remind her of her native Smoland. And, since Maastricht, she refuses to believe that borders are an impediment. (Link to: http://hotflashesfromthecampaigntrail.blogspot.com/ Friday, January 23rd) What she doesn’t know is that with the mere click of a button we can turn her into a gravely-voiced, Spanish-speaking male.

* The Highway Trust Fund is at work out here. Lots of two-lane highways being made into four-lane roads just in time to celebrate the complete depopulation of the Great Plains, which has been losing people pretty steadily since the Dust Bowl. This is the continuation of the fifty-year trend since Eisenhower used National Defense as a reason to build Interstate highways. Why couldn’t it have been railroads? (I know, I know, I’ve seen Roger Rabbit.)

When my mother was a little girl the railroads were still the national transportation. Her father, August Moline, -- a miller who chose to go out on his own rather than work for a young upstart named Pillsbury (Remember the Moline doughboy?) -- kept moving his family all around the northern Great Plains. A mill would burn down and they’d move on to another town to start over. (He knew about spontaneous combustion, but didn’t have the technology to prevent it.) In high school my mother and her sister, Tootie, would keep an eye on the trains going through Renville, Minnesota, that had come from Selby, South Dakota. Tootie was immensely popular in Selby and the tone of the messages written with fingers on the sides of dusty freight cars was: “Tootie, Come home, bring your little sister too.”

Friday, February 20, 2004

* We‘re headed to Berkeley where we’re hosting a fundraiser Sunday with our friends, John and Linda Gage. Yesterday in Denver; last night Cheyenne, Wyoming; the night before, North Platte, Nebraska, where I was able to fill my “roping and riding needs” at a shop next to the motel. Iowa and Nebraska are vast fields of white with remains of last year’s corn crop poking up through the snow like frozen armies. Even the red of the barns seems bleached by the arctic cold. Any nuance of color is startling.

*Sam’s presence in Denver gave our old friend Harris Sherman, a Clark supporter, an excuse to host a meeting for people from the Kerry and Clark campaigns. There was an instant and easy bond among the people. The strength of the Clark campaign in Colorado was remarkable. They had more money, more volunteers and a very sophisticated technological capability. We’ve learned through the years that blending campaigns can be difficult. It’s too easy for the victors to gloat and losers to sulk, but there was none of that yesterday. The Kerry people clearly admire the Clark campaign and respect its supporters and know they need their help. The Clark people want to be part of a Democratic victory in the fall but also care deeply about the future of General Clark. If this continues, Kerry is in great shape in Colorado. The Kerry people are also actively reaching out to Dean people, but the process is not as far along. We saw first hand the new energy the Dean campaign brought into the party and it’s very important to keep that spirit alive. Thankfully Governor Dean has encouraged his followers to stay involved. We’d love to have their support now. We’ll need every one of them in the fall.

* There was an outrageous column in the San Francisco Chronicle by Howie Carr from the Boston Herald yesterday. Some people who don’t know him read the piece and took it seriously so we wrote a letter in response as we drove through the empty parts of Nebraska and Colorado.

* To the Editor:

In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that we have known John Kerry for many years. Had Howie Carr, the author of yesterday's column, John Kerry: Do you know who he is?, been equally transparent he would have told you he has built his career on rabid, right-wing politics and personal invective, a sort of Rush Limbaugh lite. If he were candid, he would not describe himself, as he has, as “ a columnist... who has been covering John Kerry for 25 years.” Covering? This makes him sound almost like a responsible journalist, rather than the scabrous attack dog he is. His entire career consists of attacking any Democrat in sight. His idea of a nuanced political position is to say the Massachusetts Legislature needs “to outlaw this abomination of gay marriage’’ and “mandate the election of judges” thus ending both constitutional protections and the independence of the judiciary. His idea of wit is personal insult. He refers to former governor Michael Dukakis, who's short, as "Pee-wee." Ted Kennedy is "Fat Boy." The one thing he does say about Senator Kerry that seems to be true is that he is wealthy. Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy combined great personal wealth with great compassion for the left out and left behind. We believe the same is true of Senator Kerry. As to the remainder of Carr’s column, Mary McCarthy’s famous comment applies: "Every word ... is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'.”

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

* It’s 5:30 am and we’re leaving Wisconsin heading for California. The local news is saying Kerry “eked out” a win, “squeaked” to victory over Edwards. Excuse me, but any high school math student could tell you – like, Hello! The man won by six points! If you consider only the votes cast for the two of them, Kerry got 55%. In a national election, that would be a landslide. Any state Gore or Bush won by as much as 55/45 was regarded as a rock-solid, safe state.

As we drove off from the Marriot, Max Cleland was coming in, back from a morning TV appearance. (The man never sleeps.) He reminded us that “torganization wins primaries”. That includes getting out the vote and yesterday’s surprisingly low turnout suggests Kerry didn’t get his out. It didn’t help that the networks were droning on about Kerry’s having an extremely comfortable twenty-point lead. I hope Edward’s surge at the end will be a wakeup call to the campaign. Even our victory party reflected the lack of organization in Wisconsin. While Edwards was in the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee (the hotel of Presidents since 1893) and Dean was in Madison’s downtown Concourse Hotel, the late organization of the Kerry campaign stuck us in a suburban Marriott miles from downtown Madison. Of course, it wasn’t clear to me why we were in Madison at all.

Edwards definitely gets credit for the best line of the night: “The lesson from Wisconsin is ‘Objects in mirror are closer than they appear’.” However it’s not as delicious as Sharpton’s Sunday debate rantings about whether Bush knowingly lied: “ I hope he knew he was lying because if he didn’t and just went into some crazy psychological breakdown, then we are really in trouble.” And: “Why do people lie? I’m a minister and people lie because they’re liars. Why does he lie? I think we should give him the rest of his retirement to explain it to us.”

* We’ve been trying to get a copy of the movie “Miracle” from friends at Disney so Kerry could see it while he’s campaigning. I just received a cell phone call in the car from a woman at Disney telling me she could arrange a private screening for Kerry anytime, anywhere, but the studio wouldn’t release a DVD or video for fear of Its being pirated. I assured her that neither Kerry nor his staff would think of doing something like that, that he was running for President of the United States after all. “The problem is,” she said, “the last time we had a film pirated was when we sent it to President Clinton on board Air Force One.”

* We are passing Council Bluffs, Iowa, where we started the campaign just over five weeks and 7,500 miles ago. The radio is playing Dylan’s “Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door”.

Monday, February 16, 2004

* Here’s what was really interesting about Milwaukee’s Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner. There was no Jefferson, no Jackson and NO DINNER. Hundreds of people were ushered into a room with no tables, just chairs arranged in auditorium fashion. That was our first clue about the no dinner part. The high light of the paper-plate buffet was pigs in a blanket, followed by some oily spinach spanakopita, and a cash bar. But far be it from me to whine. The party needs the money so we can all learn to operate Photoshop with the same skill as the Republicans. See:

The dinner was the first time I had heard Edwards’ stump speech. He was sensational. This was a Kerry crowd but Edwards was truly impressive.

* My friend Jane thinks I’m flattering myself by suggesting I still have hot flashes. Here’s the truth. I’ve spent the last four months in our Volvo traveling in some of the coldest spots on earth and the windows continue to inexplicably fog up several times a day. She also thinks that none of you can blog, so she insists that I send this to you and make you actively tell me that you prefer the blog to email, rather than the other way round. That’s fine with me because then I get to hear from all of you.

* Only a few more days of seeing highway exit signs that advertise “Cheese, Ammunition and Fireworks” and hearing national pundits talk about cheese heads, frozen tundra and those quirky Wisconsinites. And speaking of quirky, did any of you see the Kucinich appearance on Jay Leno Thursday night where he was forced to play the bachelorette game? My God, the man is running for President of The United States. At least I think that’s what he’s running for. Anyway, he definitely made the wrong choice...of bachelorette, that is. Shame on Jay Leno.

* I find it a little uncomfortable to go to Google, put in Janet Jackson’s breast and then press “I’m feeling lucky”. But the result is discovering that Howard Dean thinks it’s “barely worth mentioning.” What is worth mentioning, is that It has taken us four months to get an investigation on the intelligence failure in Iraq and another year to get the results but, like all the rest of you, I thank God that the Republic is still functioning and we will get a quick congressional hearing on exposing breasts!

* While on the subject of Dean: Donna Brazile commented that his super delegates are like gravy on the potatoes. Well, if you don’t have any potatoes…..

Friday, February 13, 2004

* “Sir, request permission to come aboard. The army’s here.”
Could there be a better line?

* I’m happy to say the headquarters all over the state have actual functioning phones – just in time for General Clark’s endorsement. The Milwaukee headquarters only cut their red ribbon opening its doors on Wednesday. That’s right Wednesday. Today they are getting space for election night having decided yesterday that it will be in Madison, not Milwaukee. That’s the way it works. A month ago there wasn’t the money to set things up; two weeks ago there wasn’t the money. It is staggering to think that only a month ago the Kerry campaign seemed dead and now we are mainstream enough to be the target of the Drudge report. Now that’s the sign of a really serious campaign. And, by the way, isn’t it odd that the former head of the Texas Air National Guard is now head of the U.S. Air National Guard, appointed by Bush.

* The average age of people in a campaign seems to be about 24. In Iowa City Senator Gary Hart was waiting to introduce Kerry at a rally. A 22-year-old took him to a corner of the headquarters and said “Now, please, just stay right here so we can get you when the time comes to introduce the candidate.”

Hart looked at us and said, “I think she is afraid I will start drooling and wander away from the home. When did twenty-two-year-olds start thinking they run the world anyway?”

“About the time we were twenty-two,” Sam said.

* We had dinner with Paul Soglin last night. Paul was mayor of Madison for some 73 years, but his real love (aside from his wife Sara) is horse racing. One of his fondest memories is being at Pimlico with Washington Post sports columnist Andy Beyer, the greatest handicapper ever. Paul was cheering his horse when Beyer noticed and commented disdainfully on the horse – a 90 to 1 shot. The horse came in and Soglin says it was one of the proudest moments of his life.

* And here is another nomination for best campaign slogan from my friend, Steve Schwartz: “Back in 1964 when I was at Johns Hopkins during the LBJ/Goldwater race (In your heart, you know I’m right), one of the few African-American students at Hopkins ran for class President with the following slogan: "In your heart, you know I'm white."

* I am really looking forward to a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner at the Wisconsin Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner tomorrow.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

* Last night Sam represented Kerry at the Dane County Democratic Party’s meeting in Madison – a university town of about 20-square miles, surrounded by reality. A State Senator represented Dean, a fresh-faced 23-year-old spoke for Edwards and an attractive articulate thirty-something woman was there for Kucinich. The absence of a Clark person was poignant. It’s odd how you work hard for your candidate, hoping the others will drop out of the race, but when someone does, or at least when someone like General Clark does, you feel anything but elated. It’s not like this is some ball game or beauty contest. This General, who once held one of the greatest titles ever -- Supreme Allied Commander Europe – gave up a year of his life because he is an honorable, moral and capable man who deeply loves his country. It’s humbling.

* We are staying at the glorious old Hotel Pfister in downtown Milwaukee. Sam was last here on March 31, 1968; the night President Johnson announced his decision not to seek reelection. He remembers listening to the speech with other McCarthy workers, his back to the TV, looking out at Lake Michigan.

“With America's sons in the fields far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office--the Presidency of your country. Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.”

It was totally unexpected. Everyone was dumbstruck. There were cheers down the hall, people were jumping up and down and whooping. But Sam just remembers continuing to look at the lake and starting to cry. He still doesn’t know exactly why: the enormity of what had happened, the culmination of so much work. The world had changed. It had all started, after all, as the Dump Johnson movement so you would have expected some joy. But this was the President of the United States stepping down. It was sobering.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

* So much for allegations that John Kerry can’t win in the south – at least among Democrats.

* We’re just back from a county Democratic dinner in Manitowoc where Sam was the surrogate speaker for Kerry. One-hundred-and-fifty Democrats gathered at Studio 8, a large, dark restaurant/lounge dominated by a room-length bar. Near the entrance, which was through the back door off the parking lot, the buffet was set out. Huge stainless-steel, covered steam dishes dominated the table. Next to them were plastic plates of sliced cheeses, cherry tomatoes, and radish roses. I was always in charge of the radish rose making for my mother’s dinner parties in Omaha. Consequently I approach them with a critical eye. The radishes have to be cut into roses the day before so they can soak in icy water overnight. The water causes the thinly cut petals to swell and open which makes the radish look like a rose and taste like a water-logged pine cone. I believe this is the desired effect. I decided to delay eating and go straight for the spigot wine. The event began at 5:30 and it was immediately clear that most of the people in the room would be introduced and at least half would speak. Sam was to be the last. By 7:30 they were finishing up with the first 30 speakers and I had abandoned the horrible wine for a local beer. At 8:00 they gave out the door prizes: six-packs of Green Bay’s Baumeister root beer and hand-decorated hats forming Democratic donkeys. I was sitting at a round wooden table with a bunch of people who had come in from small towns all over the county. The man next to me brought me a paper plate heaped with meatballs, tiny sausages, potato salad and cold cuts. I was skeptical. It was fabulous. Really. The meatballs were richly flavored tender morsels. The Polish mini sausages were succulent mixtures of pork and veal with a touch of fennel and the potato salad was hot and German. By 8:30 I was looking at photos of grandchildren and talking about job layoffs at Mirro, Precision Woodcrafting and Paragon. By the time Sam spoke, I felt I knew these people – all their hopes for the future and much of their despair. They told me their life stories. And they told me their Democratic stories, like Kenosha kringlegate, when the Republicans accused Kenosha Democrats of buying votes by giving out cans of soda with pieces of kringle. If the meatballs were anything to go by, I needed that kringle recipe. Kringle is the mother of Danish pastries. However I grew up thinking it was Swedish like my mother and I want to honor her memory, so here’s the recipe:

Swedish-style Kringle
Servings: 8
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, sliced
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
3 eggs

1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon milk

3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. To begin the bottom layer: Using the softened stick of unsalted butter, cut it into the first cup of flour until it looks pebbly. Use a fork to stir in a pinch of salt and the ice water until the mix is a soft dough. Form the dough into two 14 x 3-inch rectangles on an ungreased cookie sheet. Set aside. Begin the top layer: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and the sliced stick of butter until boiling and remove from heat. To the milk and butter add 1 cup flour and stir until smooth. Beat the sugar and eggs one at a time into the flour milk mixture. Beat well. Spread this mixture over the two bottom layers. Bake until lightly browned. While Kringle is baking, prepare glaze: Combine the sifted confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract, softened unsalted butter and milk. Drizzle glaze over the still-warm Kringle and set aside. In a small bowl, toss slivered almonds with confectioners' sugar. Sprinkle almonds over the top of the Kringle while the glaze is still tacky.

By the end of the event, Sam had the crowd on their feet, whooping and stomping. He did have an age advantage. The speakers for Dean and Edwards were Nicholas’s age, and, in fact, knew him from New Hampshire. I LOVE THIS PART OF AMERICA!

Monday, February 09, 2004

* We are in Wisconsin, a squeaky-clean state with highways as smooth as butter -- no pot holes, no frost heaves, no rattley expansion cracks. In fact the whole state smells of whey.

* An old boyfriend of mine grew up in Wisconsin. His great grandfather had moved here from the east coast shortly after marrying his great grandmother. As he told the story, his great grandmother was despondent and dreadfully homesick. She said she felt claustrophobic, that she just couldn’t stand all the trees everywhere. “You want meadows?” his grandfather said. “I’ll give you meadows.” And he did. Their last name was Weyerhaeuser.

* I have no good explanation for my absence of several days and even less for the extraordinarily large font of my last email. We have driven from New Hampshire to Chicago, flown from Chicago to DC and back, and then driven to Wisconsin.

* Here’s a brilliant idea. My old friend, Carl Rogers, thinks Kerry should give out thank yous in the form of signed/logoed hockey pucks that could double as paper weights. I hope you’ll all see them soon.

I’m hoping it will turn into something like the Ricky Ticky Stickers that were given away in the McCarthy campaign. Back then, it was the era of Flower Power and someone came to Sam, then the director of the McCarthy field volunteers, with the idea of having daisy stickers made up with McCarthy’s name in the center. Sam thought it was a terrific idea. Knowing it would take forever to get it through the proper money channels, he skipped the appropriate channels and ordered three-quarters of a million stickers, about $25,000 worth. Volunteers distributed them all over Southern California. When the finance people found out, they summoned Sam to the Beverly Hills Hotel – what we thought of as the Evil Empire. (We, self-righteous, holier-than-thou young people, were sleeping on packs of mimeograph paper at the volunteer headquarters and thought the Beverly Hills Hotel was an inexcusable luxury for middle-aged adults paying their own expenses and probably suffering from arthritis. Needless to say, my views have changed.) Before Sam went to face the “money men,” he gave a personal check to Jack Walters, the California Finance Chairman, for the $25,000. It was a completely worthless, but --in his mind – noble gesture. The men were furious (and they WERE all men at that time). As they were shouting about how difficult it was to raise enough money for ads to give McCarthy some exposure, the evening news came on. The lead story was about Ricky Ticky Stickers. They showed pictures of the stickers on brief cases, on grocery bags, VW bug’s bumpers and bikini-clad stomachs. “This is a campaign of optimism and hope and it ‘s changing the face of America,” the commentator said. I assume Jack Walters still has that check.

* A couple more notes on ads:
Years ago Esther Newberg wrote this ad for a state senator from Manchester, Connecticut:

He Kept Us Out Of War With Hartford

And Mike Putzel wrote the following: Too bad you didn't go straight from New Hampshire to South Carolina. You would have passed one of my all-time favorite billboards advertising a filling station cum diner:

Eat at Joe's.
Get Gas.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

February 3, 2004

I have been out-of-touch and now we’re on the eve of really big news. So I won’t tell you about our drive from New Hampshire to Chicago where we were in blinding snow storms with wind chill factors of minus thirty.
I won’t mention that the “Primary Berry” Ben and Jerry’s ice cream that was available all over New Hampshire just before the election didn’t even liquefy in the trunk of our car. I will not describe the monotonous white countryside made endurable only by occasional signs, such as:

“Big Woody’s Fireworks, Pepper Spray, Shot Guns and Lord of The Rings Sale”
and also
“Quaker Steak and Lube.”

These are no kidding real signs.

The disappointing Super Bowl commercials reminded me of my two favorite political campaign ads ever:

One was a photograph of Rick Thompson who was running for Mayor of San Diego many, many years ago. The picture showed the candidate leaning on one elbow against his taxicab. Underneath the photo it said:

Rick Thompson
The Only Candidate With A Visible Means Of Support.

The other was an ad for Jim Abernathy, a particularly hirsute candidate who was running for congress in L.A. with an ad which had no picture of the candidate but only the slogan:

Jim Abernathy
He Believes What You Believe

We’ll see who believes what later tonight.

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