Thursday, October 23, 2008

United We Stand

I think you have to be pretty cold and cynical to not be at least a little moved by this.

He's the best political speaker in the country right now.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Two Years

It was two years ago today that my good friend, Patrick, died in a car accident. He was a police officer responding to the scene of an accident when he lost control of his patrol vehicle on the ice. It flipped and crushed him. He died on scene almost instantly.

Patrick was perhaps the nicest person I have ever known. It sounds like such a cliche, but he truly went out of his way to help people even when it inconvenienced him. We shared a love of fantasy books and role-playing. I have many fond memories of gaming with him and discussing the books we so loved. It's still hard sometimes to realize that he is gone. His name is still in my email address book and so many little things spark memories of him, not the least of which is his daughter, my niece, Alexis.

I had dinner with his parents and sister tonight, as well as my sister, Shawna, and Alexis. We had a good time sharing memories and just being together. I admit I got teary when I looked through the scrap book his mother put together for the trip they took to Washington D.C. for the Fallen Officer's Memorial Service.

Patrick, you were too good for this crummy world. Peace be with you in your new life. I think about you all of the time and I promise I will do everything I can to help look out for your daughter. It's certainly the least I can do for a friend.

Monday, October 20, 2008

High Cholesterol

I recently got the lab results back from my most recent visit to the doctor. My A1C is still good - between 5 and 6. I wasn't worried about that test. The one I was less sure about was my cholesterol level. Three months ago, my LDL level was 81. If I was "normal" (not diabetic), that would be great as the goal is to be under 100. My doctor said, however, that I should be under 70. He recommended I get more exercise and eat more grains. Well, I typically eat a fairly well-balanced diet already so that meant getting more exercise. Did I? Uh, no. It's hard when you are busy to make time for a regular exercise regimen. I do try to do little things like taking the stairs, parking farther away when going to the story, and going for walks and such with my daughters. I did not think that it would be enough to bring my LDL level as much as it did, but it did. I still should get more exercise than I do, but at least my cholesterol is down.

Ideological Divide - Congress vs. the People

Courtesy of Matt Yglesias comes this fascinating graph comparing the ideological position of the American people to both houses of Congress.

I think this highlights the frustration people often have with Congress. As you can see, members of Congress are more extreme, left and right, than the typical American. This stems from those on the left appealing to the full spectrum of those on the left and vice versa on the right. Because Congress is more polarized, it is harder for either side to move to the middle to compromise on issues.

Unfortunately there seems to be little to be done about this with our current political set-up. Democrats are not going to get elected if they don't appeal to a majority of the left. Republicans are not going to get elected if they don't gain the support of a majority of those on the right. Those that do try to move to the center often become outcasts of their own party and so struggle to accomplish much.

Much of this could probably be alleviated if we did not have such a strongly bifurcated political system, but it is so entrenched that it is hard to see it changing anytime soon.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Racism in America, Cont.

It is perhaps foolhardy to wonder about the thought process behind something like this, but I can't help myself. Does this guy think that somebody seeing Obama hung in effigy is going to stop and say to themselves, "You know, I was going to vote for Obama, but seeing his effigy hanging there, I have come to realize the error of my ways. How could I be foolish enough to want to vote for a black man when we should be hanging them from trees."

Of course there is no logic in things like this. More likely this guy is just an attention whore.

Weekly Music Video

I'll forever associate this piece with my father who played it on his guitar frequently while I was young. It evokes many happy memories.

Ludwig van Beethoven - Bagatelle in A minor WoO 59, "Fur Elise" as performed by Atsuko Seta

Weekly Secret