The Blue Raccoon

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What A Difference A Year Makes

The cover of Newsweek, for Dec. 24, 2007.

On the inside cover, Tina Fey poses underneath a table amid a piles of scripts where her -- presumably her -- son sits as though typing at a laptop. It's an ad for American Express...Hillary Clintn says her campaign isn't having a shake-up...In the Conventional Wisdom Watch, Obama is "Gettng presidential at just the right time. And he has the Oprah glow..." while cover boy John Edwards and his, "Populist message is resonating, but this numbers aren't budging." Mike Huckabee is the Republican front-runner and McCain is "down but not out".... Benazir Bhutto expresses her concern that the Pakistan elections are going to be rigged in favor of the ruling party...

The world's central banks have injected $90 billion in new capital into the markets in hopes of calming the panic and Jane Bryant Quin advises that money-market funds are safe because "sponsors will back them up"...

In her Last Word, Anna Quindlen compares our electoral process to an older house sprouting tacked on haphazard additions, "Piecemeal, arbitrary, even downwright wacky, turning the nation's most imporant task into a jerry-built mess." She offers reform suggestions of speechwriter Matthew Dallek, of a national primary or a series of regional primaries instead, and NYU poli-sci prof Steven Brams, promoter of approval voting. "This might be his year," Quindlen says, "since on both sides of the political spectrum many voters may be persuaded -- or unpersuaded -- by more than one candidate." Brams argues that allowing voters to check off more than one candidate would result in the candidate most acceptable to the largest number of the electorate, rather than "the one beloved by one segment and despised by the other." Quindlen goes on to point to the pointlessness of the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, and the archaic Electoral Collage. She concludes with a quote from playwright Tom Stoppard, "It's not the voting that's democracy, it's the counting."

Just a year ago.

And a year ago, a book titled Richmond In Ragtime: Socialists, Suffragists, Sex and Murder did not exist, as pretext for this television interview:

By the way, billion-eyed audience, I'll be away from a blogging apparatus, due to the holidays, and I hope each and every one of you get what's coming to you, or either, what you deserve.

Always merry and bright.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Huchy Kuchy At The Fair" -- And Other Stories
Thurs. Dec. 11, New York Deli, 7-8 p.m.

Ladies and gentlemen, gentlemen and ladies, roll up, roll up, to the New York Deli, tomorrow, Thursday night, and for one night only, where Harry Kollatz Jr., author of the action-packed Richmond In Ragtime: Socialists, Suffragists, Sex and Murder, will present diverting, entertaining and instructive selections.

He will be accompanied by the musical stylings of the Happy Lucky Combo and for educational purposes only, those in attendance will learn the origins of the "huchy kuchy" dance, as demonstrated by a special guest. This performance altered for life the perspective of civic muckraker Adon Yoder. All this and a rousing tribute to Eugene V. Debs. What better reasons to come out on this dreary damp evening?

The gloomy weather-or-not crowd is predicting rain for the evening, so pull on your galoshes, carry your umbrella, but come regardless for this evening of morals and mirth. History will never be the same.

P.S. For the members of the billion-eyed audience who've been impatient and wondering where their Blue Raccoon got off to, it's simple. Between selling the above volume, and the annual seasonal crush at the Other Network, the last thing I want to do when I get home is look at a computer screen. This makes me poor blogger material, I reckon.

Yet while nobody was looking, among my current assignments at the Other Network is a blog itself. So far, we've got sidewalk art, hawks eating squirrels and a dead black cat. Gripping stuff.

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