Showing posts from 2004

Our New Tree

I think that I shall never see A blog as int'resting as a tree.... When you enter Monterey on Del Monte Boulevard there is a sign saying "Tree City USA" an honor given only to those cities which have nurtured and respected their urban forestry. There should be a corresponding sign going the opposite direction into Seaside: "Welcome to treeless city USA." Look across the bay from Cannery Row and you can pretty much identify the Seaside city limits by the timberline. Monterey has trees, Fort Ord has trees. Seaside has concrete. That's not to say that Seaside doesn't have any trees, but it is safe to say that Seaside doesn't have many trees. Here and there are a few grand oak and cypress, but most of the city's arboreal collection consists of pathetic, manicured shrubs on sticks, barely able to overshadow a Volkswagen Beetle. So the Toys been doing our part to plant more trees in Seaside. We planted one Saturday. It is the sixth tree we've pl

What Kerry should have said

"I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." Those words came back to haunt John Kerry at every step of the campaign. They were provided the foundation for accusations, and acted as confirmation, that Kerry was an untrustworthy flip-flopper. Why, oh, why didn't he mention that there were two different bills? One was better than the other. He voted for the good one, and against the bad one. Now, was that so hard to explain?

The Moral Voter

Shortly after the election some poll or another indicated that voters in the so-called "red" states voted for George Bush because of his position on moral issues. Evidently, they perceived he had solid moral values which his opponent did not posess. No doubt they got this impression from Bush's attack ads more than from anything Kerry said or did himself. But let's look at this a little more closely. The Republican party tends to limit its discussion of moral values to issues related to sex. Things like sex education, gay marriage, abortion, and Janet Jackson (who has lovely breasts). However, the foundation of morality is in loving your neighbor as yourself, and the Golden Rule - do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Sex is the least of it. The Golden Rule is as important in international relations as it is with interpersonal ones. Here the GOP falls pathetically short. Bush has unilaterally broken treaties, cut funding for family planning assistance

Bush's concept of reaching out.

The day after the election President Bush said "America has spoken, and I'm humbled by the trust and confidence of my fellow citizens." Humbled? That remains to be seen. "I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better I will need your support, and I will work to earn it." With these words, the newspaper reported, Bush was reaching out to the other side. His reaching out to the opposition lasted all of one day. On Friday he said "I'll reach out to everyone who shares our goals." Since I don't share many of his goals, I guess I, and the other 49% of Americans, can forget about Bush reaching out to us. Mr. Bush, if you want to earn my respect, if you want to earn my trust, if you want to be the President of all Americans, not just "red" Americans, you need to stop telling us what to think, and start listening to what we think.

Polling Place Problems

In the next few days I plan to share my thoughts on the outcome of the election. But before I get into that, I want to express my displeasure with the setup at our polling place. We vote at the Oldemeyer Center in Seaside. We arrived there at 3:45pm to avoid the after work rush hour. It was widely reported before the election that a large turnout was expected, yet our polling place was completely unprepared for anything more than the miniscule turnout normally seen during an off-year ho-hum election. To make matters worse, two precincts, 77 and 78, were combined and crammed into a small room barely large enough to handle one in a normal election. This small room had only one 36" wide door to handle both incoming and outgoing traffic, which was constant. There were signs posted in the hallway, with 77 on the left wall and 78 on the right, leading to confusion in the line as to where people were supposed to go. A rope had been set up, supposedly to separate the two precincts, but

Birthday Wish

Tomorrow, November 3rd, is my birthday. I don't need clothes, or toys or cake (well, maybe cake). What I really want for my birthday is a new President. Please help make my birthday wish come true.

Dress nice, America

What has happened to casual attire? When did it become acceptable to look like a slob? More and more perfectly normal people, respectable people, people who have good careers, nice homes, and a healthy wardrobe budget, choose to dress in faded old T-shirts, baggy synthetic basketball shorts, and dirty baseball caps (often worn backwards) when they go out in public on their days off. This is particularly puzzling when you consider how obsessed people are over their breasts, abs, thighs etc. For some reason they want their bodies to look great, while they cover up their fine physiques with dumpster fodder. They claim a desire for comfort. But nice looking clothes can be comfortable, too. Or is it convenience? I don't think so. It is no more difficult to put on a clean, nicely styled shirt than it is to put on an ugly old one. Whatever the reason, I don't like the result. Dress nice, America.

How can anyone think of voting for this guy?

He said he would be a uniter, not a divider. Have you ever seen this country so divided? He claims to be a world leader, but the world isn't following. He said he would only use force agains Iraq as a last resort, but he didn't try anything else. When Iraq allowed UN inspectors back in it provided an opportunity to avoid war. Yet he treated them as an impediment to his war plans, dismissed their findings, and went in anyway. He told us that Saddam had massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. His Secretary of State went to the UN with photos showing exactly where they were. Yet when the UN inspectors couldn't find anything, he insisted it was because Saddam was hiding them beyond anyone's sight. He told us that Iraqi oil sales would pay for reconstruction, now he continues to ask for more and more of our money for reconstruction as insurgents continue to disrupt Iraq's economy. He failed to secure Iraq's borders, allowing terrorists in where few e

Hurricane preparations

OK, we've seen it three times in the last few weeks, and many, many times over the years. Folks in Florida and the Gulf Coast are shown on TV news scrambling to buy plywood at Home Depot so they can board up their windows to protect their homes from the impending hurricanes. I have a stupid question: Haven't these people ever heard of shutters? Shutters were invented, oh, centuries ago to protect windows from major storms. They're pre-cut, pre-hung, and conveniently hinged so that all a homeowner need do is close them and latch them in place. There's no need to make a last minute dash to the lumber yard, no need to spend hundreds of dollars and hours of work every time a storm approaches. Out here in California we are smart enough to prepare for the unexpected. We bolt our houses to their foundations, we keep a stock of emergency food and suppplies on hand. We never know whan an earthquake will strike, so our building codes and personal practices make us as ready as

The Twelve Days of George Bush

On the first day of George Bush here's what he gave to me: Halliburton in a date tree. On the second day of George Bush, here's what he gave to me: Two Mideast wars And Halliburton in a date tree. On the third day of George Bush, here's what he gave to me: Three tax cuts Two Mideast wars And Halliburton in a date tree. On the fourth day of George Bush, here's what he gave to me: Four broken treaties Three tax cuts Two Mideast wars And Halliburton in a date tree. On the fifth day of George Bush, here's what he gave to me: Five sweetheart deals Four broken treaties Three tax cuts Two Mideast wars And Halliburton in a date tree. On the sixth day of George Bush, here's what he gave to me: Six secret meetings Five sweetheart deals Four broken treaties Three tax cuts Two Mideast wars And Halliburton in a date tree. On the seventh day of George Bush, here's what he gave to me: Seven no-bid contracts Six secret meetings Five sweetheart deals Four broken treaties Thr

The Hotel Del Monte will be saved!

Last year the US Navy presented plans to demolish two wings of the historic Hotel Del Monte, which is now part of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. For those not familiar, The Hotel Del Monte is a prominent Monterey landmark with a massive red tiled roof which can be seen from miles away. The original hotel was first built in 1880. It burned down in 1887 and was rebuilt in 1888. The center section of the hotel burned down again in 1924 and was rebuilt in 1926, leaving the 1888 wings intact. It is these 1888 wings the Navy wanted to demolish and rebuild, a process which they said would save $13 million dollars over retrofitting the existing buildings. But the hotel is tied to many significant developments in Monterey's history. Among these were the introduction of the railroad to Monterey, the development of Pebble Beach, and it started the local tourism industry. Over the years, the hotel hosted numerous dignitaries and celebrities before being sold to the Navy during

The Leadership Issue

Going into the Republican convention, which starts today, I am intrigued by one remark repeated over and over by many Bush supporters. They say he is a proven leader based on his actions after the 9/11 attacks. The implication is that Gore or Kerry wouldn't have done as well. Come on. Bush's response after 9/11 was to invade Afghanistan and remove the Taliban, who had harbored Osama bin Laden and enabled him to run his network of terrorist training camps. I hate to tell Bush supporters this, but as Tom Friedman, a respected writer on middle eastern issues said, "that was a no-brainer." Any 7th grader could have figured that out. It was not brilliance, but a mere accident of history that Bush was there to do it and not someone else. It is Bush's handling of the more complicated matters that followed which really demonstrate his leadership abilities, or rather the lack thereof. If Bush was really a world leader like, say, his father, he would actually have the wo

Bye Bye K-Mart

Last week K-Mart in Seaside announced that it was closing. Good riddance.  A few years ago when Target came to town I thought (and even spoke aloud to Target employees) "If I was the manager of K-Mart I would be very afraid." K-Mart was a really sloppy store back then, but, believe it or not, when Target opened people were concerned that it would negatively impact K-Mart. Actually, K-Mart cleaned up its act, for awhile anyway. It actually became a nice place to shop, well, nicer anyway. It still wasn't as nice as Target, but at least I wasn't tripping over Martha Stewart's linens when I walked through the aisles. Now and then I'd find in K-Mart just the thing I needed, things that nobody else had. I found the perfect wall-mounted cordless phone that wouldn't fall off the hook when you bumped it. I found a terrific pair of shoes for $24 that has lasted me several years and are still going strong. I found a perfect little cell phone belt case. I got some

Stupid Meter Maid Tricks

Chapter 1 A couple of weeks ago I was driving towards Cannery Row. I turned off of Lighthouse into the left lane of Foam. For those unfamiliar with the area, Foam is a two lane one way street. Traffic was heavy that day, as it usually is on summer weekends. As I turned onto Foam, traffic came to a dead stop. I could see some yellow flashing lights ahead, and as I slowly crept forward I saw it was a meter maid cart. The meter maid wasn't writing a ticket, she was just talking to someone. Her cart was blocking traffic. People in the left lane were trying to get around her, but were having trouble due to heavy traffic in the right lane. This meter maid was clearly oblivious to the fact that she had two lanes of traffic backed up for almost two blocks. Sensing that, I decided to let her know, so as I passed I rolled down my window and said "You're gumming up traffic." All she needed to do to solve the problem was to move into one of several empty parking spaces a few fe

I'm still here.

Its has been awhile since I checked in with my two (that I know of) regular readers. Rest assured, I'm still here. John Hartford had a song wherein he describes in witty verse a series of calamities. He cheerfully concludes each verse by singing "...but I'm still here." And so am I. So many things on my mind, and so little time to share them. The reason for my absence from this journal was a co-worker on paternity leave, suffering from twins. That left just two or us to run a place that will soon require four if business keeps picking up as it has the last couple of months. Meanwhile, I have found a little time each day to play my banjo. I got a mute , a small clamp that keeps the bridge from vibrating, so I can play at night. It also gives the banjo a soft, soothing tone so it is like having two instruments in one. I know three songs reasonably well now, and I'm working on a fourth & fifth. It is really cool to be playing banjo that sounds like real banjo a, Part II

Awhile back I wrote about a fruitless experience on I am happy to report that they've gotten the bugs out, pretty much. We needed stuff, and we were just too tired and too busy to go to the store. tempted us with a coupon for $15 off $75 or more if we tried again, so I bit. It worked! First I checked the milk, in the size and quality we usually get, because that's what they didn't have last time. They had it. So happily I went through the list and made an order. I ordered ice cream, frozen veggies, hamburger, cookies, cereal, soup, and lots more. All at the same prices as the store, mostly items on sale. They even had our personal favorite products lined up on-line for easy selection, from information gleaned from years of using our Club Card. (Big Brother is here and it turns out that he is actually more useful than threatening, so far.)  The time spend wandering virtual aisles was about the same as going through the actual store, this first ti

Housing Horrors

A small house went up for sale in Seaside last week, just two doors down from ours. It is about the same square footage (800 square feet), and on the same size lot as our own. Less than a year ago our place was appraised at $325,000, which just happens to be in the price range my boss has been looking for. He and his wife want to get out of the rental rat race. The For Sale sign went up on Monday. On Wednesday I called the real estate agent to inquire further, so I could pass the information on to my boss. I was shocked when the agent said they were asking $475,000. And that was "as is" for a "fixer-upper." On Saturday there was a red SOLD sign on it. You'd think I'd be happy to hear that news, for it means that we are sitting on our own little gold mine. But rather, I'm frustrated. Housing is not just unaffordable for low income people. It is now out of reach for the middle class, my friends, my co-workers, the people who make everything around here

Unquestionably Debateable

Today I read a newspaper commentary. I will refrain from naming either the author or the paper to spare both from further embarrassment beyond what they have already inflicted upon themselves. While I tend to be in agreement with many of the author's views (I think), I ended up just laughing. The piece contained this unfathomable sentence in regard to whether underground water is part of a river system or not: "Without question, this is debatable, but no one has stepped up to spending money to determine if this is wholly true, which it undoubtedly is not." Down the rabbit hole we go! Let's take the first five words. He's saying is that the issue is definitely uncertain. I think. Next, we have a roundabout way of saying "nobody has determined" (Somebody buy this fellow a copy of The Elements of Style!). Finally if we are not totally lost we arrive at "...if this is wholly true, which it undoubtedly is not." In other words we need to spend mone

Stupid Human Trick

Last Sunday night we were driving home via Highway 101. We were just north of Prunedale when suddenly traffic came to a dramatic slowdown. I had to slam the brakes to keep from rear-ending the guy in front, as did the guy in front to keep from hitting the guy ahead of him, and so on. When I had an opportunity to get into the left lane and pass whatever it was, I was dumbfounded. A medium sized car had a large load of small diameter tree trunks lashed to its roof! [Insert Looney Tunes theme here.] They extended a good eight feet beyond both the front and rear of the car, sagging to block the driver's view. There was no flag or reflector on the rear end to warn vehicles behind. It doesn't get much stupider than this, folks.

Evolution of the breath mint

I was thinking about Altoids the other day. Those Curiously Strong peppermints in that old-fashioned looking tin. They're everywhere nowdays. They even played a prominent role in the Ken Starr report. (I still want to know how they help.) Do you remember the days before Altoids? Tic Tacs were the mint of choice a decade ago. Tic Tacs were introduced sometime in the late '70s I think. They were shaped like the white half of Tylenol, and were just the right size to get stuck in a kid's nose. I know of one case where it actually happened (in this particular case it was an orange one). Anyway, they came in a little clear plastic container with a flip top lid. They came in all kinds of flavors, but we're talking about mints, so let's get on with it. People had to deal with bad breath in the late '60s and early '70s, and the Tic Tac hadn't been invented yet. That was the reign of Certs. Certs contained a "sparkling drop of Retsyn, [ bling! ] to stop bad

Another historic building goes down.

Monterey lost another piece of its history yesterday. The old Southern Pacific freight depot was turned into a pile of splinters, courtesy of the Monterey City Council. The SP freight depot, which was built in 1915, was the last piece of evidence that Monterey once had a thriving freight railroad system, which enabled the development of local industry. It stood immediately east of the entrance to the Muncipal wharf, near the corner of Figeuroa and Del Monte. It was a long, yellow building on a raised platform. On the street side trucks would unload goods on the dock. On the other side, they would be loaded into boxcars. Or vice versa. The Monterey City Council had its mind made up several years ago. When the city acquired this plot of land, known as the Catellus property (Catellus being the real estate division of SP), the council's first instinct was to tear everything down to open up views and make a park. A nice enough idea, but there is already ample shoreline parkland in th

A visit to Carmel Point

Today on my way home from work, I took a walk around Carmel Point. I haven't had a chance to do that for a long time. I noticed some whale spouts in the distance. Probably a Blue Whale, which are known to inhabit these waters this time of year. When I got to the southwest corner of the point , I looked out on my favorite view in the whole wide world. The waves today were quite large and spectacular. They washed up on the crescent beach to form a foamy fan. This place has always had a special draw for me, something transcendent. I can't describe how it affects me, but whenever I'm here, all is right with the world. I climbed down to the rocks for a closer look at the ocean. As I watched the waves come in I suddenly became consciously aware of the almighty Spirit behind them. Every drop of water I saw as a spiritual idea, all coordinated in a beautiful thing called a wave. Suddenly everything felt alive, and I felt I was part of this glorious wonder, and it was part of me. Af

I got a banjo!

I got my banjo on the 4th. Ordered it from . It is a Gold Tone CC100R, and it sounds terrific. I already know one short song called "Bile Dem Cabbage Down." (Mind you, bile and cabbage are not words I care to associate. Better to say "boil" and let the regional accents sort themselves out.) I had to  order it on line because when shopping I found hardly anybody in Monterey County sells banjos. Music Unlimited in downtown Monterey only had one 6 string (for guitar players who don't want to migrate to a real 5 string banjo). The stores in Salinas had one expensive Fender between them, plus one electric which wasn't an option. Sylvia Williams in Seaside had a used Epiphone for $350. But I thought it sounded kinda dull and plunky. She didn't have much banjo knowledge, other than to say "Epiphones are good." Nice lady, but she didn't inspire confidence. I found out later the Epiphone has an aluminum pot instead of a wooden one, hence

Where are all the fat people?

Its the biggest news story of the day. Obesity is taking over America. Children are horribly overweight. Porkers are everywhere!  You just can't see 'em. Believe me, I've looked. Yeah, statistics show, so they say, that unhealthy fat people are everywhere. And kids, they're all roly-polys. It said so on the news, so it must be true. So where are they? Most people look pretty normal to me. Sure there's a fat one here and there, but that has been true throughout history. And that hardly constitutes a widespread epidemic. Maybe they're all concentrated in the Ozarks or something and that's skewing the statistics for the rest of us. (No offense against Ozarkans intended, I'm just using that as an example.)  Certainly these statistics don't jibe with another widespread concern that Americans, particularly females, are obsessed with being skinny. I still can't figure out if there are too many skinny women or too many fat people. The reports indicate bo

Pointless politeness

OK, this is sort of a follow up to my pet peeve report of April 19. This is a story about being too polite. Today I crossed the street again. It was a two-way street. On the left was one small car. On the right was a long stream of cars. Who stopped? The one car on the left. Did any of the cars on the right stop? No. Having no hope of crossing immediately, I waved the guy on the left through, but he insisted on waiting patiently. When the right was clear, he was still there, waving me across. He didn't need to do that. It didn't make my day any easier, nor his. It was pointless politeness.

Memorial Day Madness

Living in a tourist town has its plusses, but holidays are not among them. I'm working today, and getting to work was no fun at all. Traffic jams are everywhere, making me even later than I usually am. I don't know what would posess so many people to want to be in the same place at once. All on the same streets, all wanting to go to the same waterfront attractions, only to find the parking lots full, the beaches clogged, and not enough seating at the restaurants to handle all of these hot, cranky, hungry people. If the point is to have fun, it ain't happening anywhere I can see. Better to stay home and come back when things calm down.

What's with CHOMP?

Two items have come to my attention that have called into question the reputation of the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP), the only hospital on the Monterey Peninsula. The first was a news item earlier this week about the helicopter ambulance service called CALSTAR . Evidently Calstar was working with local police and fire departments to practice landings around the Monterey Peninsula, doing several drills in the coming days. This piqued my interest because I was listening to the police scanner recently and heard that a CALSTAR helicopter needed to land on the football field at Monterey Peninsula College to handle a trauma patient involved in an accident on Highway 1. I found this odd because CHOMP is barely a mile up the highway from the accident scene. In fact the football field was probably no closer. Why did they need the helicopter? The news story about the CALSTAR training gave the answer. CHOMP is no longer accepting trauma patients. They now have to be flown

Popular trends that I hope will go away soon

Reality TV. Now there's an oxymoron for you. Shouting news commentators. Talking louder does not make their points any more valid. Breast implants. Who wants to look at a naked girl with carnival balloons on her chest? Electronically enhanced vocals of female pop stars. Can't their voices stand on their own? Corporate control of local radio stations. Bring back the local DJ! Neoconservatives. New, but definitely not improved. Low carbs. Diet fads come and go, but diet gurus will be with us forever. Self-appointed food police. Moderation, not elimination, is the key. One-party control of both houses of Congress and the White House. Neither party is worthy of being in total control. Checks and balances, people! Liberal bashing. Liberals are not the enemy. Conservative bashing. Real conservatives are nice people. (Neoconservative bashing is OK, 'cuz they haven't actually accomplished anything.) Imitation Rob Lowe hairstyles. The harried businessman look was never in. Ov

My Favorite Customer

Many years ago when I was working in the hardware department at Brinton's  in Carmel, I was approached by a customer. He was a rather frantic looking fellow, a yuppie type, who was asking about doormats. He said his decorator told him to get one made of some material I had never heard of. I showed him our selection, which was fairly large and diverse, and made a few suggestions. Throughout our discussion he kept asking me if his decorator would approve of this one or that. After about the fourth time I said "The important thing is to get something you can be happy with." He looked up at me and said "Really?"  I nodded. He then looked at the mat in front of him, decided it was acceptable, and took it to the cashier. came to town recently. On-line grocery shopping is now a reality on the Monterey Peninsula. We've been looking forward to this for some time, and it finally opened up early this month. We tried it out last week when we were pretty busy and kinda tired and didn't want to go to the store. So we signed up and we were on our way, happily adding stuff to our virtual grocery cart. Then reality sank in. It was taking quite awhile. Then the browser crashed. To Safeway's credit, they held the contents of our cart when we signed on again. So I added more stuff. Then I got to the dairy case. All I wanted was two gallons of 1% milk. Or 2% would be fine. We always get the two gallons for a discount deal. But they didn't have it on line. If we wanted gallons all we could get was whole milk, and no two-fer deals. In 1% and 2% all they listed were half gallons.  Game over. I had to go to the store after all. When I got there I realized that many of the things I shopped fo


A pair of warbirds came to town yesterday. One was the only B-24 Liberator still in flyable condition. The other was a B-17 Flying Fortress, one of only a handful still functioning. These WWII bombers are amazing machines. I wasn't able to see them up close before they departed, though I was able to crawl through them on a previous visit. However, since I live just a mile from the Monterey airport, I was able to enjoy seeing them in flight. These planes are not large by today's standards, being roughly the size of a Boeing 737 airliner, yet they are visually imposing. They are grand machines that helped end the worst war the world has ever seen. It is an honor to watch these birds still flying. It is equally impressive to hear them. There is nothing like sound of four radial piston engines working together to take a bomber into the air. It's not quite a growl, it's not quite a rumble, but it's a little of both. It can be heard for some distance, but it is not part

How many more ways can we screw this up?

The Iraq war has been a series of miscalculations and bungled opportunities. -Callous dismissal of world opinion before the war.  -Erroneous "intelligence" on the weapons of mass destruction.  -The belief that Iraqi oil would pay for reconstruction, at little or no cost to the American taxpayer. -Inadequate forces to control looting after the fall of Saddam. -Inadequate civil control which gave terrorists a foothold in Iraq, where none existed before. -Shutting down a newspaper, in violation of our own principles of a free press, that sparked an uprising. -Ignoring the festering Fallujah until it exploded. And now....  This week the $#!^ has really hit the fan. What were those prison guards thinking? They not only abused Iraqi prisoners, they photographed their own crimes that showed then gloating over their idiocy. How many more ways can we screw this up? Bush took a huge gamble by invading Iraq in the first place. Failure would end up making things far worse than before, ye

Insincere Sinclair

  I read the news today, oh boy.  It reported that Sinclair Broadcast Group censored the April 30th   Nightline on ABC affiliated TV stations it owns. On that night Ted Koppel read the names of all the Americans who had been killed to date in Iraq. Sinclair didn’t like that on the grounds that Koppel, in the opinion of Sinclair management, was pushing an anti-war agenda.   So much for freedom of the press.   In a statement on the front page of their website , Sinclair justified its action by saying: ” Mr. Koppel and "Nightline" are hiding behind this so-called tribute in an effort to highlight only one aspect of the war effort and in doing so to influence public opinion against the military action in Iraq.   “We understand that our decision in this matter may be questioned by some. Before you judge our decision, however, we would ask that you first question Mr. Koppel as to why he chose to read the names of 523 troops killed in combat in Iraq, rather than the names of the

Retirement Planning

They say you should start planning early for your retirement. So, while I’m only 44 I’m weighing my options now. I can’t decide if I want to be a Dirty Old Man or a Cranky Old Fart. I can see advantages and disadvantages to both of these, but I don't think I can be both.   The DOM option fits in with my lifelong appreciation of feminine beauty. One can’t continue looking at pretty young women at age 70 without being thought of as a DOM. And if I’m perceived that way, I might as well live the part. The disadvantage here is that the only really successful DO Men are the ridiculously rich ones. Wealth is the only real attraction a DOM has. That means I’ll have to do some serious financial planning, something I’m not too good at.   The COF option has its merits. A COF can say pretty much what he wants whenever he wants to, which is appealing because I like to speak my mind. People will just dismiss my comments by saying “Don’t mind him, he’s old.” I’ll also be able to get away with no

Bush vs Kerry

I was a supporter of John Kerry before it was fashionable, when Howard Dean was the alleged "front runner." That was before people actually voted.   Before I go any further, let me make one thing clear. I am not a Democrat. Nor am I a Republican. I am a former Republican, registered independent. I think for myself, thank you. Republicans generally don't encourage that sort of behavior anymore. Just ask John McCain.   This election is supposedly about which candidate is strongest, particularly on national defense. In this regard popular punditry (the same process that anointed Howard Dean) declares Bush as the stronger candidate. That in itself is questionable, but not really important because this election is not about strength. It is about wisdom.   Bush often has the right idea. Invading Afghanistan after 9/11 was the right idea, and was reasonably well executed. I fully supported the President during this campaign. Removing Saddam was a good idea in theory, but poor