Thursday, February 28, 2008

Boxers or Briefs?

Ok, I am totally stealing this from The So-Called "Austin Mayor" Blog, but it is really great.

US Magazine: So, boxers or briefs? Bill Clinton said he wore boxers in a 1992 interview with MTV.

Sen. Barack Obama: I don't answer those humiliating questions. But whichever one it is, I look good in 'em!

All I have to say is "damn right you do!"

Phonebanking for Obama

Last week, a friend of mine invited me to join him in phonebanking for Obama tonight. Tuesday is the crucial primary in both Ohio and Texas - both critical states with large numbers of delegates. These states could decide the Democratic candidate for President.

I absolutely love being part of the political process and being around others who are similarly excited about it. The volunteers were of all different backgrounds. Some were elected officials. Some were volunteering for the first time. But they were all passionate about Obama.

We spent 4 hours calling Ohio voters tonight and had a blast. Most people I spoke to were indeed supporting Obama (yeah!), although I did speak to one man who called me a bitch. Some people were even chatty and wanted to discuss how much they loved Obama. That made the evening fly.

On the far other end of the spectrum, however, were the people who said they'd never voted and weren't registered and the people who did not even know who was running. I can appreciate that not everyone is as wonky about politics as I am, but to be so disengaged that you don't know who's running and/or not be registered? Really?

To me, voting isn't a right. It's an obligation. As a woman, when I go to vote, I think about the millions of women around the world who are denied the ability to vote simply because of their gender. As an American, I think about all the people around the world who live in countries without elections or with fraudulent elections. I believe I'm voting for them.

I have never missed an election - presidential, primary, local, dog catcher. Whatever the election, I learn about the issues and candidates and cast my ballot. And with the internet, it's easy to find objective information about candidates and issues.

One thing I've noticed this election cycle is millions of people who have never participated in the election process are standing up and being counted. With their money. With their time. With placing yard signs. With their vote. And that's one reason I support Barack Obama. He is singlehandedly responsible for the engagement of all these new voters. My prayer is that they stay engaged, but only time will tell.

Cubs Win!

Cubs Win! I can still hear Harry Caray saying it today.

What a way to open Spring Training. And yes, I know the win count for the season stats, but a win is a win is a win.

I'm not going to give the whole play-by-play here. You can click the link above for that. Suffice it to say that the Cubs beat the Giants 12-6. Very decisive. Nice job.

Baseball is Back!

Today is the day! Spring Training games start today! WAHOO!

Cubs' pitcher Ryan Dempster is expected to start today against the San Franciso Giants. Kosuke Fukudome also makes his debut at 3rd Base.

I so wish Harry Caray were still alive so I could hear him pronounce Fukudome. What fun that would be.

The game is at 2:05 Central Time and I would guess you can listen to it on WGN 720 AM.

Summer really is right around the corner.

Go Cubs Go!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mark Your Calendars!

Rick Springfield will be on Oprah this Tuesday - February 26th! In Chicago, you will find Oprah on at 9:00am and 11:05pm on Channel 7. Set your Tivo, DVRs and VCRs.

You'll recall that I am HUGE Rick Springfield fan and have lusted after him since I was 13. The truth is, however, that my lust for Rick is nothing in comparison to Cheryl's lust for Rick. Cheryl has seen him at Poplar Creek (we think we were at the same concert, but didn't know each other then), at the Ohio State Fair and in Milwaukee, Joilet, and St. Charles, Illinois. She has every album, is a card-carrying member of the Rick Springfield Fan Club, and even has several pieces Rick Springfield memorabilia including a mirror with his likeness that she stood outside for over an hour in the freezing cold last November to have him autograph after the St. Charles concert (note: she was the only fan who waited for him). The pictures to the right are of her with Rick in St. Charles.

What does this have to do with the Queen of All Media - Oprah? Cheryl was in the audience! With her Rick Springfield mirror!

To put this into perspective, this show was taped on February 6th - the day after Super Tuesday, when Chicago had a huge blizzard. Cheryl was at Harpo Studios at 7:00am for a taping of Rick on Oprah. Schools were closed. Roads were impassible. The devoted fan that she is, Cheryl spent the night at her cousin's house in the city and they arrived at Harpo before 7:00am on the worst day this winter. I wasn't there and I'm completely jealous. I could have been there, but I had a previous commitment. Instead, thanks to the snow, I was at home, repeatedly shoveling my driveway.

Of her experience on Oprah with Rick, Cheryl says "[My cousin Joan & I] were in the center section, dead center, with a couple of empty seats in front of us. I was the only one in my section with Rick Springfield memorabilia. Rick arrived to the screams of the all-female audience, sat down next to Oprah, looked up at me holding my mirror and other memorabilia and gave me the thumbs-up and huge grin. I'm sure he remembered our encounter in St. Charles and all the audience members around me squealed that he was looking at ME!"

It's sure to be a fantastic show, although Cheryl and I can't figure out the connection between Rick, William Shatner, and Henry Winkler. Look for Cheryl in the audience.

Can You Feel It?

Spring is in the air!

I was out running errands today and was blinded by the bright blue sky and sun. The air is crisp and fresh smelling. I heard water running through my gutter downspouts. I ran my errands with the car windows rolled down (and the heat off). Snow is melting. Ice patches have turned into puddles.

For the first time in months, I did not wear a coat. Now before you send me scathing emails reminding me that I should always wear a coat, I did have 2 wool sweaters on - one was a long sleeved turtleneck and the other was a heavy, coat-like sweater that came to my knees. But no gloves or hat.

Everyone I encountered was friendly and upbeat. Hope floats freely on the belief that this long hard winter is winding down. Happiness abounds. I would almost call it giddiness.

And for those of you counting, the Cubs first Spring Training game is 4 days away (that's Thursday at San Francisco; Friday again versus San Francsico, but this time at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, Arizona). AND Opening Day at Wrigley is just 38 days away against Milwaukee.

Yep, Spring is definitely in the air. And that means Summer is not too far away.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dave's Back!

As I was walking out the door to go see a client late this afternoon, Dave called. This is not normally earthshattering news. We talk pretty regularly. But this was a special call.

Dave's coming to visit! In 5 days! For 5 days!

You're thinking "big deal." But it IS a big deal! I haven't seen Dave since mid-December. That's almost 2 1/2 months. I don't remember the last time I went two months or more without seeing him. My brother is one of my closest friends and two months feels like a lifetime. There's so much to tell him. And so many "honey do" jobs waiting for him! HaHa! Just kidding.

I'm so happy to see him. I have a ton to do before his arrival. So I did a little happy dance.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I'd Like To Thank the Academy

Award Season is here and my little blog has been honored!

Monkey Muck (a new reader) has presented me with the award below!

And now onto my acceptance speech . . .

I'd like to thank the Academy. Oops. Wrong speech. Ok, let's try this again.

I'd like to thank the blogging world. Truly, this award is entirely unexpected. Not undeserved, mind you, simply unexpected. A pleasant surprise today because, when I started writing Little Merry Sunshine a short 7 1/2 months ago, it never occurred to me that anyone would ever read my musings. So to my 2 regular readers (hahaha! I have a lot more than that!), I thank you for sticking by me while I found my voice. And to Monkey Muck (who found my blog through Boxer Rebellion, who found me through Gourmet Goddess, who found me through Balancing Boyfriends), thank you for thinking I'm excellent. I think your blog is excellent too. :)

And now, I'd like to present my own Awards for Blogging Excellence . . .

Anthony's Chicken Tracks

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Last Lecture

I first discovered Randall Pausch on Oprah back in October 2007. If you're not familar with him, Randall Pausch is a professor at Carnegie Mellon and has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In fact, you can follow his progress here.

The video below is his "Last Lecture" aka "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" and he gave it for his kids. I know it's long, but I think it will speak to you as it did to me.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

Oprah has her favorite things. Julie Andrews sings about hers in The Sound of Music. Here are just a few of my favorite things.

1. Watching the sunrise and sunset.
2. A first kiss . . . well, ok, any kiss.
3. My iPod.
4. Betsey and Ross.
5. Homecooked meals that I didn't have to make.
6. Thai food.
7. A hot bubble bath.
8. A deep tissue massage.
9. Bon Jovi, The Dixie Chicks, U2, and Jimmy Buffett.
10. Politics.
11. My jeans.
12. Clean, ironed sheets.
13. Breakfast in bed.
14. The Sunday Washington Post (the actual newspaper - not online).
15. Books.
16. Thunderstorms.
17. The beach.
18. Watervale.
19. Warm towels.
20. Pretty stationary.
21. Yellow Tulips.
22. Fresh tomatoes from my garden.
23. My girlfriends.
24. Champagne.
25. The West Wing.
26. Peppermint ice cream.
27. Nana's Fruitcake.
28. The Sound of Music.
29. My birthday (June 16).
30. Thanksgiving dinner.
31. Uncle Wiggily books.

Friday, February 15, 2008

An Open Letter to Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

I'm not sure why you have chosen to inflict your wrath on the helpless citizens of Chicagoland this winter, but I just have one thing to say to you: Stop Now!

We are in the midst of the 4th snowiest winter in Chicago, thanks to you, with no sign of it ending any time soon. "Dodge the Pothole" has become a daily form of entertainment, mostly resulting in a lot of expensive car repairs. Towns are out of salt to prevent ice from forming on the streets rendering the roads treacherous at all times. Snow is piled so high at the end of people's driveways, we risk our lives to pull out each morning.

And the cold. Have I mentioned the cold? Certain body parts are permanently frozen in the "on" position, it's so cold.

Sure, we saw the sun yesterday and the day before, but once every 14 days is simply not enough. And I know that right now, it's 43 degrees and raining, BUT by late this afternoon, this rain will turn to thunderstorms and then more snow! And by tomorrow, it will be in the low 20s! And Tuesday it will only be in the mid-teens! We are currently under 38 weather alerts! What gives???

What have we done, I ask you??? Is it our President? Has George pissed you off with his outright denial of global warming? Look, I'll admit to you, we don't like him either. In fact, we didn't actually elect him - you may have heard. Five men and women in bathrobes appointed him almost 8 years ago. And we're working hard to fix that mistake. But the fact is that torturing the good people of the Midwest won't get his attention. Have you seen how he reacted to Hurricane Katrina? That's right. He didn't. If he didn't get that you're pissed when you flooded the Crescent City then he's NEVER gonna get it, trust me. To be honest, I'm willing to give him back, if that will make the torture we've endured this winter go away. Yes, torture, is what I said.

Wait a minute. Are you in cahoots with chiropractors and massage therapists? They must be the only ones benefiting from all this snow. People overexert themselves everyday shoveling and see their chiropractor or massage therapist for relief. Hmmmmmmm . . . Are you getting a kickback?

On behalf of the good people of Chicago, what can we offer you that will appease your appetite of destruction? We will do anything. Well, most of us will do anything.

I beg you. Please just let this winter end. Spring Training has begun. St. Patrick's Day is 4 weeks away. Easter is a week after that. Opening Day is 45 days from now and Big Z is pitching. At some point, you have to release us from your paralyzing grip. Why not now?

We ask for forgiveness for our transgressions. Please, just tell us what we've done. And please, please release us from your wrath.


The Residents of the Chicagoland Area

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate love. Mostly this is defined as romantic love, but I think it's more expansive than that. I believe ALL love should be celebrated today. Love between lovers, for certain. But also love between friends, family and love for ourselves. And even strangers on the street. Every relationship needs to be nurtured, not just the romantic ones.

So whether you've got a traditional Valentine today or not, celebrate love. Do random acts of kindness. Be a little more patient. Smile at a stranger. Call your best friends and tell them how much your life is enriched because of them. Call your mom and tell her you love her (heck, if she didn't have a Valentine at some point, you wouldn't be here).

And then don't forget to nurture yourself. Take a bubble bath. Do your nails. Write down 20 things that you love about yourself (Even if this sounds daunting, just start to write. Don't think too hard. Once you get started, you'll find this isn't so hard.).

To my friends and family, I love you. You each bring something wonderful and amazing to my life. You love me in spite of my flaws and quirks. You keep me laughing. You are my rock. Thank you. Happy Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm Still a Girl Afterall

So I'm having a super crazy week. Work is hopping. Personal life is hopping. I have way too many plates in the air this week. I'm usually pretty good with juggling them all, but somehow one fell out of the air today.

I came home for lunch this afternoon (something I do daily - yay for working from home!) and put my car in the garage as I always do. But when I went back out a few minutes ago, I discovered my car battery was dead. I left the lights on. That's the plate that fell.

Now I kind of know how to jump my car, so I looked for my battery charger figuring it had instructions on the box. It turned out, however, that Dave took it to Michigan with him. So I called AAA. This is what I have them for, afterall. I politely explained to the AAA rep that I have a curved driveway and my car was parked inside my single-car garage, so it would probably be best if the tow truck had a portable battery charger, rather than try to manuver in my driveway. No problem he said.

An hour later the tow truck arrived and as he pulled into my driveway, the driver just shook his head at me, as if to say "there's no way I can get to your car." He gets out of his truck, walks over to me and says "I CAN'T get to your car! I CAN'T do it!!" Calmly, I explained that I informed AAA about my driveway and specifically requested a tow truck with a portable battery charger. He shouted at me again saying he did not have a portable battery charger and had never had this situation before (really?), as he waived his hands and shook his head.

At that point, I asked him not to yell at me because I really wasn't at fault here (aside from leaving my lights on) and this really wasn't what I needed, but he just kept going.

So I pulled out the only thing left in my arsenal: tears. Now, don't get me wrong, this wasn't full on sobbing. This was only slightly more crying than Hillary Clinton did in New Hampshire.

But it worked because before the first tear hit the ground (or froze), Mr. Tow Truck Driver was apologizing all over himself and suggested we push my car out of the garage. That worked and in less than 5 minutes, my car was humming again, just like it normally does.

I actually feel bad about the tears. I don't normally cry on demand, but it's nice to know that I can if necessary. I'm still a girl, afterall.

Spring Training Starts TODAY!

Cubs' Pitchers and catchers will report to Mesa today to begin Spring Training. Position players (that's everybody else) will report on the 18th. The first Spring Training game is February 28th. And for those of you keeping count, Opening Day at Wrigley is a mere 45 days away (March 31st) against Milwaukee. Can Summer be that far away?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Reason, Season, and Lifetime Friends

I have always believed there are three types of friends: Reason, Season, and Lifetime. None of them is bad. In fact, they are all equally important.

Reason Friends come into my life for a specific reason - to help me grow, to help me learn a lesson, etc. Once the reason is over, the friendship comes to its natural end. Sometimes work friends fall into this category. We may become very close to Reason Friends and share many intimate details from our lives, but they are still Reason Friends. I usually mourn their departure, but sometimes it's so gradual neither of us notices until it's too late. I also usually hope that our paths cross again.

Season Friends are in my life for a period of time. Some of my friends from college fall into this category. They were there for those 4 years, but after that Season in our lives was over, we went our separate ways. I always mourn when these friendships end because it means a significant time in my life is over, but it is also a time of exciting opportunity. Like Reason Friends, I hope my life path will cross again with my Season Friends.

Lifetime Friends, however, are my touchstones, my lifeblood. Without them, my life is empty. They are there through the thick and thin, exurberence, and sorrow. No matter what happens in our lives, our friendship remains. Sometimes we aren’t as close as others, but we always come back together. The thing about Lifetime Friends is that we can be apart for a decade or more, but when we finally come back together, it's like time has stood still and we pick up right where we left off. Being a Lifetime Friend has nothing to do with when the friendship began. It could be a 40 year old friendship or a 4 week old friendship.

Please don't misunderstand me. I don't treat any of my friends differently. Most of the time, I don't even consciously know which category they fall into.

Because February is the season of Love (and not just the romantic kind), it reminds me to tell my friends how much I love them. I know I don't say it often enough. But I do really and truly love each of my friends. So this Valentine's Day, I'm sending big hugs and kisses your way.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I Go Back

Kenny Chesney is right. Music defines certain periods of our lives.

When I look back at my life, certain moments and events are defined by the music. I can tell you what song we were listening to the first time I heard those three beautiful words "I love you" from a man. Don't ask me because I won't really tell you, but every time I hear it, I go back to that moment.

Bon Jovi and U2 define the years I was in high school and college. The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby by U2. Slippery When Wet and New Jersey by Bon Jovi. Some songs on each of these albums more than others, but the albums in their entirety send me back instantly.

Last night, Alan and I saw U2 3D at the Imax, which, if I do say so myself, was one of the best ideas I've had recently. The 90 minute movie follows U2 during their 2005-2006 Vertigo tour through South America. In fact, you can see the trailer here. We knew almost all of the songs and they spanned every album. If you have the opportunity, see it. I promise you won't regret it.

The concert movie ended with my favorite U2 song of all time - With or Without You.

With or Without You sends me back to the best week of my high school career. I was privileged enough to participate in The Illinois Citizenship Experience (which sadly, I do not think exists anymore), sponsored by my high school district. The program provided students from across Illinois with an opportunity to explore Illinois government, the political process, and decision making through on-site observation in Springfield (the state capitol). We met with State Senators and Representatives on the floor of the Senate. We visited the Illinois Supreme Court. A budding political wonkette like me was in Heaven.

That week in Springfield was a week I've never forgotten. A number of my closest friends from school were on the trip with me, and I met a girl from a neighboring high school who instantly became part of my inner circle. One of my favorite memories of the week was traveling home on Amtrak, where our huge group took over an entire car. Someone had brought a portable stereo and we sang U2 and Bon Jovi songs all the way home. The friends I was on that trip with are still part of my inner circle and whenever I hear U2 and Bon Jovi, I still go back.

I Heart This So Much!

I just love that Barack Obama's speechwriter is 26 years old. I love young people being such a part of the political process.

What Would Obama Say?
By ASHLEY PARKER, New York Times
Published: January 20, 2008

Photo by Jacob Silberberg for The New York Times
TURNING A PHRASE Jon Favreau, chief speechwriter to Senator Barack Obama, at work the night of the New Hampshire primary.

AT the Radisson Hotel in Nashua, N.H., Jon Favreau sipped Diet Coke and munched on carrot sticks and crackers to pass the time. His boss, Senator Barack Obama, wandered in and out of the room.

Photo by Steve Pope/European Pressphoto Agency
ECHOES Barack Obama’s speeches are written in his own style.

Finally, results from the New Hampshire Democratic primary started coming in, surprising everyone. Hillary Clinton was pulling past Senator Obama, who had won the Iowa caucuses only five days earlier.

Mr. Favreau, the campaign’s 26-year-old head speechwriter, found himself in the hotel lounge with less than three hours to revise what was to have been a victory speech. What made it particularly strange was that his words were being challenged. Mrs. Clinton had helped turn her campaign around by discounting Mr. Obama’s elegant oratory, saying, “You campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose.”

“To be honest,” Mr. Favreau said, “the first time I really stopped to think about how it felt was when he started giving the speech. I looked around at the senior staff, and they were all smiling. And I looked around the room and thought, ‘This is going to be O.K.’ ”

Mr. Favreau, or Favs, as everyone calls him, looks every bit his age, with a baby face and closely shorn stubble. And he leads a team of two other young speechwriters: 26-year-old Adam Frankel, who worked with John F. Kennedy’s adviser and speechwriter Theodore C. Sorensen on his memoirs, and Ben Rhodes, who, at 30, calls himself the “elder statesman” of the group and who helped write the Iraq Study Group report as an assistant to Lee H. Hamilton.

Together they are working for a politician who not only is known for his speaking ability but also wrote two best-selling books and gave the much-lauded keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

“You’re like Ted Williams’s batting coach,” Mr. Favreau said.

But even Ted Williams needed a little help with his swing.

“Barack trusts him,” said David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s chief campaign strategist. “And Barack doesn’t trust too many folks with that — the notion of surrendering that much authority over his own words.”

When he first met Mr. Obama, Mr. Favreau was 23, a recent graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., near where he grew up. Mr. Obama was rehearsing his 2004 convention speech backstage, when Mr. Favreau, then a member of John Kerry’s staff, interrupted him: the senator needed to rewrite a line from his speech to avoid an overlap.

“He kind of looked at me, kind of confused — like, ‘Who is this kid?’ ” Mr. Favreau recalled.

Mr. Obama became his boss the following year. Mr. Favreau had risen to a job as a speechwriter on the Kerry campaign, but by then was unemployed. He was, he said, “broke, taking advantage of all the happy-hour specials I could find in Washington.”

Robert Gibbs, Mr. Obama’s communications director, had known Mr. Favreau during the Kerry campaign, and recommended him as a writer.

Life was relatively quiet then, and Mr. Obama and Mr. Favreau had some time to hang out. When Mr. Obama’s White Sox swept Mr. Favreau’s beloved Red Sox three games to none in their American League 2005 division series, the senator walked over to his speechwriter’s desk with a little broom and started sweeping it off.

Mr. Favreau also used this time to master Mr. Obama’s voice. He took down almost everything the senator said and absorbed it. Now, he said, when he sits down to write, he just channels Mr. Obama — his ideas, his sentences, his phrases.

“The trick of speechwriting, if you will, is making the client say your brilliant words while somehow managing to make it sound as though they issued straight from their own soul,” said the writer Christopher Buckley, who was a speechwriter for the first President Bush. “Imagine putting the words ‘Ask not what your country can do for you’ into the mouth of Ron Paul, and you can see the problem.”

Many Democratic candidates have attempted to evoke both John and Robert Kennedy, but Senator Obama seems to have had more success than most. It helps that Mr. Obama seems to have the élan that John Kennedy had, not to mention a photogenic family.

For his inspiration, Mr. Favreau said, “I actually read a lot of Bobby” Kennedy.

“I see shades of J.F.K., R.F.K.,” he said, and then added, “King.”

Not everyone is so enamored. Mr. Obama excels at inspirational speeches read from a teleprompter before television cameras, critics have noted, but many of his other speeches on the campaign trail have failed to electrify.

Ted Widmer, a historian at Brown University, said that Mr. Obama’s speeches “were perfect for getting to where he was early in the race, but I think now that we’re in a serious campaign, it would be helpful to hear more concrete proposals.”

“There’s more to governing, there’s more to being president, than speechwriting,” he added.

Mr. Favreau said that when he is writing, he stays up until 3 a.m. and gets up as early as 5. He hasn’t slept for more than six hours in as long as he can remember, he said.

Coffee helped him through the Iowa caucuses. Two days before the victory there, he walked across the street from the campaign’s Des Moines headquarters and cloistered himself inside a local cafe.

He and Mr. Obama had talked about the post-caucus speech for about 30 minutes, settling on a theme of unity and an opening line: “They said this day would never come.”

“I knew that it would have multiple meanings to multiple people,” Mr. Favreau said. “Barack and I talked about it, and it was one that worked for the campaign. There were many months during the campaign when they said he’d never win. And of course there was the day that would never come, when an African-American would be winning the first primary in a white state.”

In discussions about the speech, the issue of race never came up, Mr. Favreau said. But, he added, “I know I thought about it.”

As Senator Obama’s star has risen, so has Mr. Favreau’s. In New Hampshire, Mr. Favreau stood in the back of a gym watching his boss campaign when Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter to the current President Bush, introduced himself. He complimented him on the Iowa victory speech.

The campaign staff has started teasing Mr. Favreau about his newfound celebrity. Not that it’s any great pickup line. Mr. Favreau, who said he doesn’t have a girlfriend, observed somewhat dryly that “the rigors of this campaign have prevented any sort of serious relationship.”

“There’s been a few times when people have said, ‘I don’t believe you, that you’re Barack Obama’s speechwriter,’ ” he went on. “To which I reply, ‘If I really wanted to hit on you, don’t you think I’d make up something more outlandish?’ ”

He does have other things to worry about. “Can you get through this process and keep the core of yourself?” Mr. Favreau asked. “You know, we’re finding out. I’m confident he can. And I think I can, too.”

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Cure for the Super Tuesday Hangover

Are you feeling a bit hungover from all the excitement of Super Tuesday? The revelry of voting and watching the results trickle in last night are gone and you just hurt?

If the rumor is true that the best cure for a hangover is to have a drink, then the best cure for the Super Tuesday Hangover is to vote again!

And I've got the perfect election for you!

Straight from the email sent out to millions of fans, Brad Meltzer is holding an election for the title of his new book (which is due out this fall!)!

I know what you're wondering: Where, oh, where is Brad and his pathetic, kinda sad way of choosing titles for the next novel? Screw the primaries. I want to vote on something that really matters. Like imaginary people. And thrillers. And stuff like that.

Well, have I got the answer for you.

You know how the game goes. We've done this beautiful (and yes, kinda sad) dance before. Just please vote for which title you like best. No, it doesn't matter what the book's about. I'll tell you later. Just pick what you'd rather read:


Okay, that's it. You've made your decision, just send it. Don't overthink it. And thank you thank you thank you for putting up with such nonsense. I keep telling myself that asking family and friends isn't the way to do this, but if it ain't broke, cliché, cliché, cliché.

Love to all from Florida.

How to vote: send an email to bradmeltzer27 at bellsouth dot net. HURRY! The deadline is Friday!

In this election, I endorse "The Book of Truth" because I believe there are many layers of truth and everyone's truths are a bit different. I think "Lies" is a bit mundane. The challenge is finding Life's Truth. And from the little bit I know about this book (story for once the book is released, sorry), I think "The Book of Truth" is more fitting.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

And Now the REAL Fun Begins!

The polls have just closed here in Illinois and my favorite part of the day is just beginning. Yes, of course, I voted this morning and I very proudly asked for my Democratic ballot. And I reminded everyone I saw, spoke to, or thought about (via ESP) to vote.

But now the REAL fun begins. I'm set to be glued to my TV until all the ballots have been counted tonight. I do this every election, unless I'm attending an election night party for a candidate I've worked for. Yes, I'm a political wonk. And I'm damn proud of it.

Watching the results pour in is my favorite way to spend an evening. I get more excited about this than I did about Santa Claus when I was a kid.

Here's an example of just how big of a geek I am . . . .

In the Spring of 2002, I was dating a nice man, we'll call him Tim (not his real name). Illinois was in the midst of a hotly contested gubernatorial primary in the wake of the George Ryan downfall. The night of the primary, my man had a meeting and wouldn't get home until late (he lived in the city and I was in the Burbs), so I hung out at my house. About 8:00pm, I called and left him the following message: "Hi Tim! It's me! I hope you had a great day and remembered to vote. And I hope your meeting went well tonight. I'm crawling into bed right now to spend the rest of the night doing my favorite thing, but you can feel free to call when you get home - I'm sure I'll still be awake." About an hour later, my phone rang and it was him desperately wanting to know what I was doing. I have to say he was terribly let down to learn that I was watching the election returns. He was actually irritated that I would leave such an allegedly suggestive message on his voice mail. But it honestly never occurred to me that he might think I was doing anything other than watching the election results!

Clearly, he didn't know me very well. I should have known then that he wasn't the right guy for me.

Needless to say, I'm a bit more careful about the messages I leave now.

Ready! Set! VOTE!!!

"Think government isn't about you? How many of you have student loans to pay? How many of you have credit card debt? How many want clean air and clean water and civil liberties? How many want jobs? How many want kids? How many want their kids to go to good schools and walk on safe streets? Decisions are made by those who show up. You've gotta rock the vote!"

- CJ Cregg, The West Wing, "You Gotta Rock the Vote," Season 4, Episode 3 (emphasis mine)

Today is the day! The one we've all been waiting for! I don't think I have to tell you that if you live in a Super Tuesday state, you gotta vote!

And just as a reminder, snow storms, rain storms, or other Acts of God do not get you out of voting. It's that important.

Don't remember who to vote for? Click here or here.

Finally, wear your "I Voted" sticker with pride.

Monday, February 4, 2008

It's Super Tuesday Eve!

In honor of tomorrow being Super Tuesday, here's an Obama commercial that ran in many Super Tuesday states (although not in Illinois) during the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Oh, while you're at it tomorrow, vote for these candidates too:

Dan Seals (D-10th Congressional District)
Dick Durbin (D-US Senate)*
Peter Gutzmer (D-27th District, IL Senate)*
Carol Javens (D-53rd District, IL House)*

I'm not going to get into making endorsements for the Water Reclamation District, Cook County positions, or judicial positions.

*These candidates are running unopposed in the primary.

If you don't know where you should go to vote, in Cook County, check out Cook County Clerk David Orr's website.

Also, in Cook County, if you witness any shenanigans, including being refused the right to vote, (unheard of, I know), you should call 1-866-OUR-VOTE where you'll find the Election Protection Coalition, a group led by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights.

And remember, polls are open in Cook County from 6:00am - 7:00pm. And yes, you can print out this blog post and take it with you. And no, a snow storm predicted for tomorrow is not an excuse not to vote.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Yes We Can!

Now I'll admit that the Black Eyed Peas are not my favorite group. Frankly, they are more Dave than me. I'm more of a U2, Bon Jovi, REM, Dixie Chicks girl. But this moved me this morning when I first found it on Eric Zorn's Change of Subject blog. In fact, I added it to my endorsement of Barack Obama below.

But I just read's stirring essay titled "Why I Wrote Yes We Can" on the Huffington Post blog. WOW. Go read it and try to tell me it didn't speak to something you believe in. And follow the link in's essay to the Yes We Can Song.

After reading's essay, I not only have a new respect for him, but I also decided this song needed its own post.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Endorsements for Super Tuesday

President of the United States
I remember voting in my first Presidential primary in 1992. I crossed party lines and pulled a Democratic ballot because I believed Bill Clinton could change the world and I truly admired Hillary as well. (Yes, that means that at one point in my young life, I was a Republican and that's a story only to be told over martinis). She was the type of woman I wanted to be; she had a successful career as an attorney, worked in children's advocacy, and managed to be a hands-on mom and good wife. As the years went on, I grew to like her even more. She was smart and unafraid to stand up for what she believed in. I also agreed with her on many issues. In early 2000, when she declared her candidacy for US Senator from New York, I tried to figure out a way to go work for her and vowed that if she ran for President, I would drop whatever I was doing to be part of her campaign. Because I was in DC during the 90s, I had the unique opportunity to be in Mrs. Clinton's presence on more than one occasion.

Eight years later, Senator Hillary Clinton is running for President. It's an historic moment to see the first viable female candidate. And I almost volunteered for her campaign.

I say almost because in this election cycle we also have the unique privilege of having another equally strong Democratic candidate. A candidate who will also make history. A candidate who stopped me in my tracks when I first met him almost 6 years ago. His name is Barack Obama and he is the junior Senator from Illinois.

From the moment I first met him, I was taken in by Senator Obama's willingness to build coalitions and listen. He truly listened. He wanted to hear people's concerns and when he spoke, his words were inspirational. I don't mean inspirational like self-help gurus. He spoke of a better America. A safer America. An America that had the respect of foreign countries. He spoke of possibilities and his belief that we could all be better. He spoke of peace and of building unity. He reminded me of another inspirational president - John Fitzgerald Kennedy - and his famous words, "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." President Kennedy made people want to be part of something bigger and better than themselves and Senator Obama does too.

At a time when America has been bitterly divided along partisan lines for 16 years, I believe that Senator Barack Obama is truly the candidate of change and the only candidate who can reach across all lines - gender, race, age, socioeconomic, and party - to rebuild America in the 21st Century.

Senator Obama is the Real Thing, and therefore, I throw my considerable support behind Barack and strongly encourage you to vote for him on Tuesday, February 5th.

For more information about Senator Barack Obama, visit his website.

Endorsements Teaser

My endorsements will be posted by 9:00pm CT tonight. I know you're waiting with baited breath and I hate asking you to wait longer, but I must.

Here's a teaser . . . .

For President, my endorsement will be historical.

Check back after 9:00pm.