Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ethically challenged or just astute

What do you all think? Is it wrong to intentionally create scenarios that will test whether or not someone will lie to you? Is it dishonest to ask someone a question to which you already know the answer, in an effort to test their truthfulness?

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Vote Frank

OK, before you all go and faint, let me explain

I think I may just have to do more than my civic duty at the ballot box in our state’s upcoming primary. I think I’ll take that extra step and do my part to make the general election as entertaining as possible.

We have quasi-closed primaries, which basically means that everyone but the Republicans go on one ballot and all the Rs go on another. As a registered nonpartisan, I can choose either ballot. Ordinarily, I would go with the everything but Republicans ballot--more to choose from--but this year that just seems like no fun. I don’t think anyone in the state has to strain their brains too hard to figure out who will be winning the Democratic nomination. So with Tony Knowles a shoo-in, a vote on that side of the aisle seems a little wasted and certainly not conducive to fun and excitement.

Nope, I think that I may just have to ask for the R ballot. But oh, who to choose?

Incumbent Frank Murkowski, the man who appointed his daughter to the U.S. Senate and who has managed to alienate almost everyone in the state of Alaska?

Sarah Palin, moderate with backbone, which she proved when she stood up to her party’s bigwigs, but perhaps not as known statewide?

Or perhaps John (used to be Johne) Binkley, Fairbanks riverboat captain who is sailing on a sea of cash?

I don’t know a whole lot about Palin, though the things I have read indicate that she has some positive qualities. And Binkley is widely well-liked in the Fairbanks community and seems a nice enough guy. But I fear neither of them will make for big fun in November, so it doesn’t seem right to cast my ballot for them.

But folks, picture this: If Frank wins, the die-hard Rs in the state will have to make an unenviable decision: Stick with the party and vote for someone they dislike or turn to the dark side and vote for Tony. And that doesn’t even count how absolutely amusing it will be to watch Tony and Frank duke it out, with Tony pointing out all of Frank’s failings and Frank trying to talk his way out of them, and vice versa. I can think of no combination in recent memory that stands to generate so much of what makes election season such a joy.

Yep, as much as it may pain me, I may just have to vote for Frank.

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I lost my rose-colored glasses in our nation‘s capital

Now, dear readers, I should clarify, lest you go off thinking that I was some sort of Pollyanna type prior to arriving in that hotbed of politicking known as Washington D.C. Rest assured, I have no illusions about our government. If my temperament were setting the color of my sunglasses, I’m afraid they would be black.

Nope, in this case, I truly am speaking of my pink-hued sunglasses, which not only served their utilitarian purpose, but also were ironic enough, given my aforementioned cynical bent, to give me a periodic chuckle.

Alas, I was a fool. My brain had been well-lubricated with too many shots and I left them on the table in a bar in Dupont Circle to go watch the parade of puffy-lipped drag queens strut their stuff during the evening show.

Like I said, foolish. If there is one place one should not leave a pair of pink sunglasses laying unguarded on a table, it is a gay bar, or at least that’s what stereotypes would tell you. At any rate, some sticky-fingered someone lifted my sunglasses of irony and now I’m back to plain old brown.

Bad queen! Bad, bad queen!

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Avoid the Homer effect

Doh! Doh! Doh!

Sage words from someone at a workshop today:

"The last thing you want to do is reinvent the square wheel."

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Fatally killed by repetitive redundancy

I have seen and heard the words "general public" more times than I can count in the last 24 hours. Over and over and over... And sometimes it has been capitalized. Even better, I found a synonym that is equally redundant on--guess where--a PowerPoint slide. Shocking, I know. The trend didn't escape the watchful eye of my colleague, who is a former copy editor. She slipped me a cocktail napkin with the words, "general public," scribbled on it. I added my reply and handed it back:

"=public at large."

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I think I'm a bumpkin...

I'm in Washington D.C. at the moment and it always takes me a couple of hours to acclimate to places like this. It's not the climate, though the 92 degrees and humid feels like a wet wool blanket, but the ... city-ness.

For a girl from Fairbanks, Alaska, any city feels like another planet, but DC is certainly that to the nth degree. The faster pace of things is almost tangible as you step out of the plane, and it's not just the roar of people or the view of cars jammed on a freeway as I flew in. People are just going. And they don't seem very happy about it. 'Course people at airports seldom are. Still, people don't seem to look you in the eye as much in a large city. And if you smile at them, their smiles back look a lot like they might just be doing it because they know you're "special" and deserve their sympathy. ;) It's not that people in cities, as individuals, are any less friendly than they are anywhere else, it's just that, as a whole, humanity feels so much more anonymous.

And then there's my incredible lack of knowledge of things like: Exactly how much am I supposed to tip the guy who refused to let me carry my own bags even though, being a woman who splits her own firewood, I am perfectly capable of carrying a couple of suitcases, thank you very much?

As for my hotel, it's very nice, and I'm afraid to touch anything for fear they will charge me for it. They charge for local calls, for calling-card calls, for Internet access. They offer bottles of water in your room, for $4.95 apiece. If I enjoy the robe and want to take it with me, $90. Believe me, it's not a $90 robe. The front desk asked me if I wanted a key to the "refreshment center." Noooo, I think I'll pass on that. A chocolate attack in the middle of night could run me $8 for a candy bar and soda. If I desperately needed a beer and some peanuts I'd be looking at $13 for a half-cup of honey-roasted peanuts and a Miller Lite.

Guess I'm just not quite ready for the role of rich yuppie business traveler.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

A familiar face

Funny how certain things can trigger memories that bring you to your knees.

When I was in college, I worked at the school newspaper, as most journalism students did. I was managing editor and the editor-in-chief was someone I quickly formed a close connection to and was terribly fond of. I remember sitting in the office that Tuesday in October, the fluorescents off and the sun filtering in through the windows, creating a cool, crisp light. I waited for him to come so we could go deliver all of the papers and wondered where he was. I remember sliding down my kitchen wall when another friend and fellow student called me, “He’s been murdered.”

For a long time I could see his face whenever I closed my eyes, whenever I wanted to be near him. I could see his hands and arms crossing mine on the light table as we pasted up the last blocks of text in the week’s edition. It was all so clear. But that was nearly a dozen years ago, and time, mercifully and cruelly, fades those memories.

I haven’t seen his face for so long. So when a song I used to sing when we were working on deadline came on the radio tonight as I was pulling into the driveway, I simply turned up the volume, closed my eyes and he was there. No time had passed. I could have touched his face. Then the song was over, I opened my eyes and he was gone just as quickly, my tears the only remnants of my memory‘s brief gift.

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Kneading in the wee hours

It's 12:25 a.m. and I'm making bread. There must be something wrong with me.

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