what’s going well?

I know this probably won’t surprise anyone in the audience, but I’ve had occasion in my life to see a therapist or two. One particular therapist always likes to start her sessions by asking, “What’s going well?” I always know the question’s coming, but I never know quite how to answer. The whole idea of focusing on the positive runs completely contrary to my nature. For the past 30 years I’ve made it my practice to dwell almost exclusively on the negative… So, in honor of her, and to keep from freaking out again like I did last night, I’m going to try something new here tonight. I’m going to start by focusing on the positive.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been told by a few non-voters that they will be voting in this year’s election in part due to, as one person put it, my “enthusiasm for democracy.” That makes me very happy. And, what’s more, I’ve even helped to persuade a handful of folks to go out and campaign for Kerry with MoveOn. (Unfortunately, none of them were here in Ypsi, where I still need help.) And, now that I think about it, there were a few people that wrote in after Clementine’s birth saying that they’d honored my wishes and placed small contributions to the Kerry campaign instead of sending gifts… And, I’ve just starting talking with a shy reader on the east coast about what she can do, short of knocking on doors, to get Bush out of office. So, the time that I’ve spent here, away from my family, in my tattered old blogging leotard, hasn’t been a complete waste of time, at least not in the arena of politics.

How’s that for optimism?

Now, can I start talking about depressing stuff?

OK, first off, I wanted to mention the brewing election trouble in Pennsylvania, where it looks as though Republican officials in Lackawanna County are preparing to help their party by making it more difficult to Democrats to vote. Specifically, it looks as though they’re going to be changing polling places at the last minute in 27 primarily Democratic precincts, for no justifiable reason.

Second, I wanted to comment on last night’s vice presidential debate, and how fucking stupid Cheney was to suggest that people with questions about his tenure at Halliburton go on-line and do research at non-partisan, non-GOP sites like FactCheck.org. (Actually, he said FactCheck.com, but he meant FactCheck.org.) If people in the audience took Cheney’s advice and went to FactCheck today, what they found this morning was a story that begins with the phrase, “Cheney wrongly implied that FactCheck had defended his tenure as CEO of Halliburton Co., and the vice president even got our name wrong. He overstated matters when he said Edwards voted “for the war” and “to commit the troops, to send them to war.” He exaggerated the number of times Kerry has voted to raise taxes, and puffed up the number of small business owners who would see a tax increase under Kerry’s proposals.” Doh!

It would seem to me that a lot of people probably thought Cheney won the debate at the time, but that will probably change, as his quotes get examined and as people discover that, while sounding authoritative and wise, he was really just shitting squid ink from all his pours. Case in point: last night Cheney delivered what seemed to be a devastating body blow to Edwards when he said that, even though he spent a good deal of his time at the Senate, he’d never met Edwards until walking on the stage that evening. The implication, of course, was that when there was work to be done in the Senate, Edwards was never around. It was a hugely effective line… but apparently not true. Over the course of the last 24 hours, at least three photos have come out that show them together prior to the debate.

And what was all that bullshit about Cheney wanting to count the Iraqi police that had died along with the soldiers from the so-called “coalition” nations? Sure, it sounds a hell of a lot better to say that only 50% of those killed on our side in Iraq were Americans (as opposed to 90%), but it’s just not true. You can’t count untrained Iraqi traffic cops along with the guys from the U.S. and British armored divisions.

OK, I wanted to say more, but it’s midnight and I’ve got a big day tomorrow. So, I guess you’ll just have to wait to hear my thoughts on Howard Stern’s announcement this morning that he’ll be jumping over to Sirius Satellite Radio come January 2006, and thereby sentencing traditional broadcast radio and Clear Channel Communications to death.

One last thing… If you live in Ypsilanti and drive a late model Saturn, you might want to start locking your doors. I just got a call from the police with regard to our little incident the other night. It seems as though the guys probably weren’t just looking for CDs in Linette’s car, as we’d thought. Apparently, Saturns are being stolen left and right in our neighborhood. According to the cops, the theory is that a set of master ignition keys is floating through Ypsilanti’s criminal underworld.

And I doubt that many of you will care, but there was a potentially huge fuel cell breakthrough announced today that could hasten the commercialization of hydrogen powered vehicles.

OK, I’m going to kiss the baby goodnight and head upstairs to wait for the rapture.

See you in heaven,

* This post was brought to you by the scrotal safety commission.

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  1. Posted October 7, 2004 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    I like the positive side of Mark Maynard! And my therapist always asked, “So, how *are* you *today*?” And she was never pawned off with a Fine, and how are you?

    Did you get a chance to read the article I sent you yesterday?

  2. dorothy
    Posted October 7, 2004 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Just read your post this AM and when I checked the Rapture and Scrotal links I laughed so hard I got the hiccups—–thanks so much. On a more serious note, you may want to check with your ophthamologist about taking a multivitamin. More specifically vitamins A and C. They combat capillary fragility. People under stress sometimes need more vitamin C than under normal circumstances. A little extra vitamin A won’t hurt but don’t overdo it. I like your therapist.

  3. Dave Morris
    Posted October 7, 2004 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    There was an interview with Jon Stewart on Fresh Air last week. He had the comment that congress will not be under democratic leadership until after the Rapture.


    So if after all our hard efforts GW wins the election, we can at least look forward to the possibility that they will actively pursue raising the index to the point at which they and their ilk will be beamed up- squid ink and all. Bring it on.


  4. Posted October 7, 2004 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Mark, I admire your optimism. I’ve lost all hope in humanity to comprehend national politics.

    American democracy has evolved into some kind of creepy reality program where issues don’t matter as much as clever sound bites, preferably ones that rhyme or are derivatives of other clever phrases.

    All I can hope for is that America will make the right decision for the wrong reasons.

    I find comfort in the constant cynicism I call “realism”. I’m constantly surprised and never disapponted. Get jaded!

  5. Posted October 7, 2004 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    What strikes me is the way political parties communicate with their voters.

    Somewhere during the 60s we reached the pinnacle of public understanding and have since reverted to tactics of the 1880s.

    Simple ideas like blindly brandishing chinese-made flip flops and over-simplifying the workings of Congresss with statements like “voted against the war”. This over-simplification gets me hot.

    I’d like to get to congress so I can include “baby eating” clauses in all major legislation and then claim every voted against everything.

    (rant over)

  6. mark
    Posted October 7, 2004 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    The last numbers I saw suggested that 15% of us here in America were evangelical Christians, people who would rather see the world end in violent conflict than to see it putter along without rivers of blood and the sounds of gnashing teeth. I haven’t seen numbers to verify it, but my guess is that there area about 15% of us who are reasonably well informed, somewhat intelligent, and understand that the Bible was a good book about a great man with revolutionary ideas, and not some kind of mystical device for fortune telling. The rest of us, the people in between, are idiots… I don’t know where I was going with this….

  7. Posted October 7, 2004 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    15% is a good number. 10% maybe.

  8. stella
    Posted October 8, 2004 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    One of my fav bumper stickers-

    we’ll finally have the place to ourselves

    that might be slightly paraphrased but you get the jist

  9. Tony Buttons
    Posted October 8, 2004 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Perhaps there’s a way to convince them that they need to take the first step toward heaven themselves, like the Heaven’s Gate people did.

    What if we all woke up one morning to find that the most insane 15% of us had put on new Nikes, and eaten poisoned SnackPack pudding in an attempt to meet God halfway? We

  10. chris
    Posted October 8, 2004 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    OK, I only checked back for a response, thank you. And thanks, to Kathleen for her kind words. Ummm, the debate, yeahh, uhh. Well, I’m one of those wake me up when its over folk, with regard to watching any of them on TV. I can barely handle it when John Stewart runs a clip. I kind of just stick my fingers in my ears and say “toyboat, toyboat, toyboat” over and over until it goes away. I saw some of his talk in wilkes-Burrough, PA and asked my husband if I had just been politically clueless the last 30 years of my life or is this Republican party especially, oh I don’t know, FUCKING sociopathic? He replied, “the latter”.

    So, thank you for not limiting me to 1000 words like Mr. Kay and his definitely below the Mason-Dixon line mental meanderings. And, why don’t you have an Amazon link so that your humble readers might slide a few coppers towards Clemmie’s higher edjamacayshun when we purchase crap we don’t need online.

  11. Tony Buttons
    Posted October 8, 2004 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    How about selling Amway to us? Or, better yet, bags of your nose hair clippings?

  12. Andy
    Posted October 8, 2004 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    For fun, I bought one of those “In case of Rapture, this car will be unmanned” bumperstickers for my old car. It was fun to walk into one of those Christian merchandise stores (and try not to laff). Recently, I found a sticker that says “In case of Rapture, I’m going to steal your car.”

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