Can’t wait to get my drink on again soon…
So, it is almost over, thankfully. Election years can be trying times for friendships and families. Often, by the first week in November partners are sleeping in separate bedrooms or only feigning interest in the other’s opinions so as not to cause another battle. I used to know a wife who told her husband she was voting Republican almost every year just to keep him quiet, and then in the booth she almost always chose the Democrat. I always found that amusing.
Everyone here knows my opinions, too well by now. I need you all to know that I am only so passionate because I truly believe that real good or real harm can come from who we choose to lead. I always thought George W. Bush was a great guy, but he was a terrible leader, who made terrifying decisions and assumptions that are going to haunt our country and economy for a generation, if not more.
I am a liberal yes, but mainly because I put a higher premium on social issues than I do on my tax burden. And I believe that the idea of rugged individualism was an idea more appropriate to the age of the cowboy than the age of the internet. I believe we are going to go morally bankrupt as a country if we continue to allow our daughters to be treated less equally than our sons, or if we continue to argue that who someone else marries or sleeps with has any real impact on our own lives or society, or if we begin to assert that our own faith must take precedence over another person’s, or if we continue to ignore the glaring injustice and giant cancer of racism that continues to hold us in it’s thrall. If we as a nation decide that we want to truly move forward together, as Americans, then we need to realize that we are going to have to invest in ourselves a lot more. We need healthy, educated citizens who are capable of going into the world really ready to compete on a global scale. To stay the most powerful and free nation on Earth we are going to have to throw aside some old notions or we will fail. We can do that by providing a more level playing field where access to education and healthcare are assumed. We can do that by bringing everyone fully into the American circle: Women, gay, lesbian and transgender persons, all races and all creeds, fully in. Some of our greatest moments as a nation have been almost forced upon us by tragedy in recent decades and I think that is pathetic. After 9/11 we were all Americans: race and economic status were erased for just a moment, and we were the better nation for it.
I believe that today’s Republican Party has been highjacked and they frighten me more and more as each election cycle progresses. Ronald Reagen and George H.W. Bush used to piss me off a lot, but I was never frightened of them or their ideas. Whether we can force them back into the mainstream through continual electoral defeat remains the hope of many.
So yes, I care about society and I care about you. I want you to keep your guns, your church, and your values, but I challenge you to rise up and see the fact that you can have all of those things and allow others their space too. The ideas that this is all about money and taxes is also abhorrent to me. Those who care more about a 1% increase to their tax burden than whether the kids in their neighborhood get a good education flummoxes me, truly. You do know those kids are going to grow up right? And that if they are not educated they are more likely to stay where they are, less likely to be employed, and more likely in engage in behaviors most people do not want in their neighborhoods? You do get that right? I find it rally hard to care about five or ten percent if that means I get clean streets, educated children ready to compete in the coming decades, police and fire protection, an effective and stable political system, etc.
People seem to believe that a ten percent income tax cut is somehow going to make them ten percent happier. Yeah, probably not. What it IS going get you are fewer police officers, more pot holes, longer lines at the post office and continually high enforcement of other revenue raising activities like speed and parking citations. There is absolutely no positive correlation between a high level of happiness and a low tax burden, in fact the opposite is true. In survey after survey the most happy people are on Earth are also the most highly taxed. Why? Because they know that they can go to work, work hard, and not worry about whether their kids will get the best education or if their mother gets sick whether she has insurance. Removing burdens and worries like that frees people up to actually pursue happiness.
For all of these reasons and more I will be voting tomorrow for Barack Obama as President of the United States. I pray you will join me.
I know why I am supporting my candidate. I hope you know why you are supporting yours.
Gail Collins continues to be one of the most humorous and relevant voices writing today. LOVE HER: There’s so little time and so much to do before the Big Day!
In this excerpt from his new book, How Music Works, musician David Byrne explores some of the latest neuroscience regarding how it is, exactly, certain patterns of sound that fall within particular ranges of frequencies can affect our brains so greatly:
“…the sonic range that matters and interests us the most is identical to the range of sounds we ourselves produce. Our ears and our brains have evolved to catch subtle nuances mainly within that range, and we hear less, or often nothing at all, outside of it. We can’t hear what bats hear, or the subharmonic sound that whales use. For the most part, music also falls into the range of what we can hear. Though some of the harmonics that give voices and instruments their characteristic sounds are beyond our hearing range, the effects they produce are not. The part of our brain that analyzes sounds in those musical frequencies that overlap with the sounds we ourselves make is larger and more developed—just as the visual analysis of faces is a specialty of another highly developed part of the brain.”
Do yourself a favor and go read the whole fascinating piece over at Smithsonian. Some recommended listening to accompany it.
You are having a terrible week my friend, and if things don’t turn around quickly this might well be your annus horribilis—and that’s putting it mildly. But please don’t get sad. I am always, always here for you and I just want you to know that I miss our talks. Everyday, I stare at this big empty chair next to me and think: “Was I the kind of friend that Mitt needed me to be?”
You know what? I don’t think that I was.
Still, it is hard not to be somewhat gleeful. You know that you and I have never seen eye to eye when it comes to politics. Well, sometimes we did. Like back when you were Pro-Choice. We were SO in-sync back then.
Or back when you pretty much invented “Obamacare” and successfully implemented it in your state: TOTALLY simpatico.
But then you started hanging out with that other crowd and things just haven’t been the same. I mean those guys are really, really mean dude.
Anyway, I know you absolutely hate hearing about other people’s problems (I totally get it, empathy is just not your “thing”), but I have to tell you I am really annoyed. See, I have been trying really hard not to post so much stuff about politics on the various social media outlets I frequent. And let’s face it, I frequent many. I think it was you, in fact, who dubbed me your favorite “Twitter whore.”
Yeah, good times.
See, my many Republican friends and family members are about ready to kick my commie ass to the curb. (Remember when you used to call me a commie and then wink as you slapped my ass? I miss that!) I am pretty sure, in fact, that at least two are ready to legally change my name to Leon Josef Marx and burn me at the stake in some sort of weird pre-post-apocalyptic right-wing sacrificial rite. So, I have been trying to salvage the meager strands of these fractured relationships by posting lots of pictures of babies and kittens. I mean no one doesn’t like a cute picture of a pussy right?
But you Mittens are making it really very hard on a guy like me and you are straining the bonds of our long, abiding friendship. I mean did you expect me not to discuss your latest home movie at all? I am only human. I mean, Christ.
As your friend it pains me to see such an epic conflagration. I mean, let’s face it, not many people have committed such outright political suicide nor did so with such an adorable grin that everyone just finds SO endearing. Still, if losing this early in the game was in your playbook all the time then you have done a stunning job. If you intentionally wanted to show yourself as arrogant, out-of-touch and entitled then congratulations. STUNNING VICTORY on every level.
Let’s do lunch soon mister, I really miss you. This time you are ABSOLUTELY buying, however. None of this “Oh I am too rich to carry cash and why do I need a wallet?” bullshit. I talked to Megan McCain on Tuesday and she told me you have been doing that to John for years. You can be such a butthole sometimes I swear.
Anyway, time to email HILLZ…trying to convince her to run in 2016. I mean how much do you hate her right now?
Love, your ever supportive and devoted friend,
Robert J. Sandy
Hey friends wanna help me make my dreams come true?
I will be posting this everyday for the next ten days:
As EVERYONE on God’s green Earth knows I have been planning a move to Los Angeles the past few months and was within a few weeks of leaving. Some private unforeseen financial setbacks have depleted my moving fund considerably, however.
As of now I no longer have enough to get there, pay a couple of months rent, all of my monthly bills, and be able to eat, before I have secured a job. I have SEVERAL employment opportunities available to me, but many do not want to make a decision until they have met me. So, I am stuck.
Ostensibly I was leaving in order to work on getting my book “The Ankara Messiah” published. It is done in the sense that I am finally just putting it all together and making it a cohesive whole. I wrote the thing over the course of 8 years and never in any sort of logical order so it is a task…and given the size of the thing a LARGE task. I have great faith in it as a work, and I am more proud of it than I have been of almost anything in my life except my family and friends. In addition, I have been hard at work on a screenplay for a story that I had intended to write in novel form, but since every time I have ever discussed the work with anyone they say “that would make an excellent movie” I have decided to cut to the chase. I figure it gives me an additional angle to get me through the door.
Aside from my writing I really wanted a life reset in the worst way possible. I have had a challenging few years personally and professionally and I feel I need the sense of renewal that such a move would provide. Additionally, I truly felt at home in L.A. in a way that I have not felt in Chicago in quite some time.
So, here is the deal: There are a ton of websites where you can make a project or a wishlist or a page asking your friends to either help achieve a goal, buy an item, or help get a project off the ground. I have felt a little weird doing that, but I recently discovered that Amanda Palmer is doing it and she is married to Neil Gaiman, and Margaret Atwood is doing it and she is Margaret FUCKING Atwood! So, if they feel comfortable seeking out financing publicly why should I not?
I figure if I get enough people to believe in me enough to give me a few dollars that I might make this happen after all. SO, if you know me well enough, and believe in me, and want to help then please do:
I will be accepting donations at my PayPal account: email@example.com
I will accept donations for the next 10 days and if I reach my goal I am out of here, and if not I will return each donation with a huge thank you and heart full of gratitude. It is that simple.
So, ANY amount will help, and each amount, no matter how small, will be named on the thank you page of any subsequent publishing I get. Even $1. Since all of the sites I have seen for projects offer “perks” I will offer the following other gifts:
Any amount over $25 will receive a signed hardcover edition of the book once published. This could take awhile!
Any amount over $50 will receive a signed, printed out personal manuscript once the book is published.
Any amount over $500 will receive a personal dedication on the dedication page of the work. (I don’t assume there will be many, or any of those, but one can dream) Some people have already earned their wings in this department including Teresa, Keith, Christine (Hell, she owns a few percent of the thing already), and Tony.
So give as you will in any amount, or don’t give any. Our friendship will not be predicated on whether you do or do not. I hope those who I have been generous with in my life, and there are MANY of those, however, will find it in their hearts and pocketbooks to reciprocate. LOL! Had to add that…
Anyway, there it is.
Anyway, if I make enough I will go, and if I don’t ALL donations will be refunded promptly.
LOVE YOU ALL! I now hand this over to God, gods and goddesses, or whatever it is out there to do for me what they will….
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO PUBLICLY PROCLAIM YOUR DONATION IF YOU WANT EITHER ON MY PAGE OR IN THE COMMENT THREAD!