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Obama and Gators and Nittany Lions

[Cross-posted from The Trail]

Last night on Monday Night Football, Chris "Boomer" Berman asked both presidential candidates what they'd like to change in the world of sports. McCain's answer was pretty straightforward: Get rid of performance-enhancing drugs. But Obama's response was clearly -- obviously, blatantly -- geared with an eye toward the Electoral College map. This will take some explaining. Also some tortured logic. Bear with me.

Obama said, "I think it is about time that we had playoffs in college football. You know, I'm fed up with these computer rankings and this and that and the other. Get eight teams, top eight teams at the very end, you got a playoff, decide on a national champion."


For those of you who don't follow college football -- and God help you -- there has been for many decades a controversy over the lack of a playoff system to determine an incontrovertible champion. Instead, for decades, there were just a smattering of bowl games, at the conclusion of which the champion would be whichever team finished at the top of the polls conducted by organizations such as the Associated Press. But the polls sometimes contradicted one another. So a few years back, the mandarins who run the game created a Bowl Championship Series, in which one game would be designated the national championship game. That, however, meant that only two teams at the end of the season could be eligible for the decisive contest. Often there were three, four, five, six teams or more that could plausibly claim to be the best in the land. Who has so often been left out in the cold despite an immaculate record?

Penn State.

With 21 electoral votes!

Joe Paterno's squad has routinely been edged aside despite perfect seasons. The pollsters have questioned whether Penn State's schedule is sufficiently challenging. But why not let the Nittany Lions have a shot in a real playoff? [Also we need to find out, at some point, what a Nittany Lion is.]

Now look at what just happened in the last 48 hours or so: Texas Tech beat No. 1 Texas on a last-second miracle play, and vaulted to No. 2 in the BCS standings, past unbeaten Penn State, which unwisely had taken the week off.

The top two teams in the standings right now are both from extremely red states: Alabama and Texas. Obama doesn't need to pander to the Crimson Tide or the Longhorns. But Pennsylvania is crucial to his plans for an Electoral College majority. And Florida would be a nice bonus, too, especially after the 2000 debacle. The Florida Gators, who just chewed up the Georgia Bulldogs and spit them into the St. John's River down in Jacksonville, are now No. 5 in the BCS. At No. 4 is - oh no! -- Texas. As it currently stands, the Gators might get frozen out of the title game even though they look like the best team in the country.

A college football playoff, therefore, would help teams like Penn State and Florida. With 48 electoral votes between them.

VERY savvy answer, Senator Obama.

By Joel Achenbach  |  November 4, 2008; 12:18 PM ET
 
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Comments

Sometimes, Joel, you scare me.

And I mean that as a compliment.

I once asked my Father-in-Law, a Pennsylvania native, what the heck a Nittany Lion was. He had no idea, and didn't seem that worked up over his ignorance.

Fortunately, as always, the truth is out there:

http://www.psu.edu/dept/ur/about/images/nittany.html

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 4, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Just more evidence I voted for the smart guy.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 4, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I thought this kit had been written by Mudge!

Posted by: nellie4 | November 4, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Ha! Just TRY and find this level of analysis at fivethirtyeight!!! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 4, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I wondered if Obama's answer about a BCS playoff was addressing Pennsylvania and Florida...

Reposted from previous Boodling:

Quick report from the polls out here in Urbana, MD:

Walked the two blocks over to the elementary school, my assigned polling place. Greeted a man and woman (a couple, most likely) walking away from the school, neat little white oval "I Voted" stickers adorning their sweaters.

"Hi. What's the line like?"
"10 or 15 minutes," said the woman with a smile.
"It looks longer than it really is," they said in unison, then looked at each other and laughed. I laughed, too.
"Thanks," I said. "Don't forget to wear those stickers up to the Dunkin' Donuts for some free coffee."
"We will," they said, as we turned with a wave and walked in opposite directions.

When I got to the school property and headed for the back of the line outside the door,, I saw a young lady with two small children, a 2-year old and an infant in a carrier, walking from the parking lot on my left at Recalcitrant 2-Year Old pace. I slowed to let them get in line ahead of me. When we settled in, she eyed my 'Error in '08' t-shirt and said, "Did you know that there's no line over at the Library? You can just walk right in and vote."
I ignored the implication. "My confirmation said to come here. I didn't even know the Library *was* a polling place. Good to know, though." By this time, she was engaging her two-year old; "Do you see anything orange?"

The grey-haired lady behind me said that it was good I brought a book and waved some sort of economic textbook as a gesture of solidarity. Then she opened her book and began reading.

As the line moved into the school, people looked at my shirt with interest, and I noticed a guy on a bench wearing a Mitt Romney hat. We eyed each other with a smile and nodded. When the line shuffled closer to his perch, I said, "Nice hat. '12 will be here sooner than you think."
While I spoke, he read the front of my shirt completely. "Thanks." He nodded to indicate my shirt. "Error?"
"Any vote I cast could be construed as a mistake by somebody. But Error was a friend of mine who joked about running for President. He passed away last year."
"Oh," he said, arching a brow. "Sorry," and clearly didn't know what to say now.
My place in the line was moving past him now, so I said over my shoulder, "If you see anyone in Ron Paul gear, please let me know."
When I went inside, they didn't look at my ID (they did eye the shirt), but validated my name, address and date of birth, then had me sign a receipt before handing me a card to operate the Diebold machine.
Three minutes later, I was walking out into the fresh air, feeling good at having discharged my civic duty as a citizen.
And the little white oval "I Voted" looks good on my 'Error in '08' shirt, right over my heart.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | November 4, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

And of course, Error's on the page today.

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 4, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Now that is why I voted for the man!!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 4, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Wow. That was totally unplanned synchronicity...

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 4, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Joel, that is impressively reasoned - more convoluted, even, than my explanation for why the designated hitter rule was a direct cause of the decline of civilization and a good indicator of the hardiness and trustworthiness of various state populations (I'll spare you). Do you think other Floridians and Pennsylphs recognized it, as you obviously did?

Thanks for re-posting, bc. It was good to read it again. I expect a lot of reposting in this Kit flurry.

Also, I'm impressed that RD can tell us what a Nittany Lion is.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 4, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Notice to members of International Order of Poetry Welders, Local 4311: There is a limerick contest over at PostPartisan.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2008/11/tell-the-campaign-in-a-limeric.html

Posted by: engelmann | November 4, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

*peering over the pile of work on my desk*

Belated report from early a.m. voting. I arrived at 6:30, spent 10 minutes locating a parking spot, and was out by 7:15. Kudos to the volunteer playing maitre'd for the line, calling out which sign-in stations were available. It took me a while to realize this, though. I kept hearing "H2O! H2O!" I'm thinking, "What, are they offering water?" Then realized he was saying "H to O" as in letters of the alphabet, as in Me!

Heaviest turnout I have ever seen, and I always show up at the same time. Glad to see so many participating and hope it becomes a habit.

Posted by: Raysmom | November 4, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Good tale, bc, and true, too.

Report from Ritchie. The morning student rush was over by 9:40. CPDot2 and I biked through the soft, warm air. We peeled our gloves off, as they are totally not necessary. We stood in line at numbers 23 and 24. We knew seven people ahead of us mostly from the neighborhood:

laser physics prof
ethnomusicalogogist (Korean instruments) prof
two NASA-engineers
one speech path mom and daughter in full dress Navy Midshipman blues (Navy approaching black)
neighborhood watch captain

Later, behind us, I saw two former students:

Jewish studies major with a minor in music ethnology (all things Klezmer)
math major who wants to reform how we teach algebra especially for at risk students

Voted! At station 1. CPDot2 voted at station 7, so we bookended the voting machines. we looked up to see that within the middle of the set of machines, head bent in concentration, was none other than CPDOT1! Studying the slate of candidates for returning five of six Orphan's Court reps.

In all the rush about Obama, etc., I had forgotten about SLOTS. SAID NO, loudly, to slots but I fear that slots may be here in MD, which means that my county, Prince Georges, and Baltimore City will bear the brundt of that social choice. Big gambling will make out fine, with some stale dribbles to the schools.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 4, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I think elk have been reintroduced to Pennsylvania; mountain lions not (but they do seem to disperse widely and it's not inconceivable that a wandering male could pop up.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 4, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I dunno nuttin' 'bout football anymore, at least since Bradshaw, Mean Joe, Lynn Swann et. al. retired, so all I can do is shrug and say "whatever".

No TV or 'puter in the shop, so I've been bouncing back and forth to try to keep up with the latest news. Great for productivity, huh?

Anyway, I tuned the shop radio in to the local AM talk radio station so I can keep tabs on what's happening with local polls, forgetting that Rush Limbaugh comes on at noon. Let's just say I'm finding his show illuminating as to why anyone would vote McCain today. If they had an award for selling propaganda, fear-mongering, paranoia, blatantly ignoring reality, and sheer chutzpah he'd win hands down.

Part of me wants to change the station because he's so full of guano, but the rest of me is too amazed and laughing too hard to do it.

It's like the scene in "Holy Grail" with the Black Night insisting that having his arms and legs chopped off is only a "flesh wound".

Posted by: martooni | November 4, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Joel, Joel, Joel. Allow me to elucidate.
A Nittany lion is a mountain lion who lives on Mount Nittany, a largish lump of stone in the middle of pennsylvania, near the Penn State campus. "Nittany" itself is an old Indian word (as nearly everything in Pennsylvania except "Pennsylvania" is). Some say it comes from the name of an Indian maiden, Nit-a-Nee
Here is the legend of the Indian maiden and how Mount Nittany came to be "built" (from Wikipedia):
“Nit-A-Nee, which means "barrier against the wind," was an Indian maiden whose lover, Lion's Paw, was killed...
“Nit-A-Nee enfolded him into her arms and carried his still erect body back to a place in the center of the Valley where she laid the strong Brave in his grave and built a mound of honor over his strength. [No, don’t ask what “his erect body” means. I’m only quoting here. Do your own explication.]
“On the last night of the full moon, after she had finally raised the last of the soil and stone over his high mound, a terrible storm came up unleashing itself with thunder and lightning and the wailing of a horrendous wind from the depths of the earth. Every Indian in the Valley shuddered and all eyes were directed to the Indian Brave's high mound upon which the strong maiden Princess Nit-A-Nee was mounted [see previous note] with arms outstretched to touch the sources of the lightning bolts in the sky.
“Through the night they watched with awe as the Indian Brave's burial mound grew and rose into a Mountain penetrating the center of the big valley between the two legs of the Tussey and Bald Eagle Ridges. When the dawn finally came, a huge Mountain was found standing erect [ditto] in the center of the Valley.

(part 2 next)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 4, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Joel. College football needs a tournament format like every other college sport. Syracuse needs all of the help they can get winning that elusive national championship.

It took my wife about 1.5 hrs to vote. Our ward is populated with a predominance of people with a surname that begins somewhere between the letters L and Z. Our name came up misspelled in the computer database and the paper roster, but it didn't cause a problem. Voting accomplished.

Posted by: -jack- | November 4, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The conclusion of the story about the dead but erect Indian:

“A legend had been born. The mound and the maiden had given place to a mountain, and standing on its summit was a lion surrounded by eleven orphaned male cubs, each of whom had the courage of the fearless Indian Brave and the heart and strength of the mysterious Indian Princess. From this day forward every place in the valley was safe, and the wind wrested nothing from the fields on which these lions strode as fearless heroes from the mountain. The people of the valley from that date forward knew only happiness and bounteous plenty.

“In the fullness of time, men and women came from across the farthest seas to build a college at the foot of this Mountain. The strength and courage of the students of this college became known far and wide.

“As each student learned the destructive power of the North Wind across the fields, each also learned the strength of the Princess known as "Breaker of the Wind," called in her language Nit-A-Nee, and the courage unto death of the Indian Brave called Lion's Paw.

As long as this strength and courage is known in the Valley, Mount Nittany will stand as a breaker of the wind.”

[I also will not comment further upon the breaking wind aspect of this legend. You guys can handle that yourselves.]

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 4, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I am on several community list serves and report that three of four are buzzing with non-partisan and courteous voting stories, much as like those appearing here.

But, these threads are even better:

Do you need food and water for people in line?
Yes.
On my way over with coffee and danish.
Bring folding chairs.

And now a few asking for these:

umbrellas.

A local restaurant is planning to show up to two Hyattsville voting stations with snacks for the dinner and evening rush.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 4, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

There is a Mount Nittany near State College, PA. Hence a mountain lion in the area would be a Nittany Lion. I've worked with too many Penn Staters to not know that. And I'm kinda tired of pictures, coffee, cups, paper weights and screensavers of that d@mn lion.

And a sixteen team play-off is completely doable. Pick any eight bowls that aren't part of the BCS and move them back a week. These are the first round games. The four BCS games become the quarter-final round. The Saturday following the first full week after New Years Day is the semis. And the National Championship is played on the third or fourth Saturday of January on the open weekend before the Super Bowl.

I have explained this to anyone who will listen to me and they have yet to implement it. What a bunch of maroons.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 4, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to add that I know 1 black and 4 yellow labrador retrievers named "Nittany."

It's a Pennsylvania thing, I guess.

Off to play with the puppy and then vote.

Posted by: -dbG- | November 4, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Various punctuation, spelling and format errors (there he is again).

I was worried about the comment size limit being characters or words, so I cut a few corners to save space, and I was in a hurry.

Now, back to work.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | November 4, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

SCC: What bc said, only more so.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 4, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

About 4 months ago there were 2 kids playing in the lobby at the hotel and 1 kid said your mama is Obama and the other kid said,well my mama is going to be the next president of the United States.....I sure hope that kid was right

If not I may move to Canada, Yoki how is the housing market in your neck of the woods?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 4, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

All I can do is laugh and shake my head. Men and sports. There is nothing that you cannot find a sports analogy to.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | November 4, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

A conservative coworker with friends and family on the Baltimore City police force says that the local constabulary is bracing for riots and looting regardless of the election outcome.

I tried to explain to him that this is not a situation on par with the Rodney King verdict or a Detroit Pistons championship. He just shook his head at my benighted naivete. He dared me to go to east Baltimore tonight for a late night cup of joe.

Since he lives in Harford County I warned to watch for Klan rallies on his way home.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 4, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

You're going to tick some Boodlers off, greenwithenvy.

The housing market is softening, but still way over-priced, to buy into.

The pretty prairie towns within commuting distance are more affordable, but then there is the commute.

In town, I hear tell you can get some pretty good shared accomodations, but only if you aren't too particular about who your roommates are.

Posted by: Yoki | November 4, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

No wonder I can't get interested in football.

A line over a block long at my polling place, started to diminish by 1 PM.

Posted by: Braguine | November 4, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

There's a small but exuberant group of fairly young folks standing on the corner outside my office, waving Obama/Biden signs and whooping whenever someone honks for them.

I thought about telling them how impressed I am that they were willing to cancel their appointments at the tattoo & piercing parlors for the occasion, but I can't be sure that they'd understand that I was joking, and I don't want to do anything to dampen their enthusiasm.

Posted by: bobsewell | November 4, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight.com is predicting an Obama victory with 98.9% confidence. Further, the most likely victory scenario is a massive landslide best described as "Weingartian."

Of course, Nate is no fool. He inserts the following CYA statement:

"Any forecasting system is only as good as its inputs, and so if the polls are systematically wrong, our projection is subject to error as well."


Aye, that's the rub. This is why those whose job is to make assessments of the world based on subjective data often lose sleep. For it is a well-known axiom that in order to provide useful assessments, one much always run the risk of catastrophic failure.

Or, to reduce things to the inevitable sports metaphor:

"To win you have to risk losing."

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 4, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Psst.
The correct spelling is

Knittany Lions.

That. Is. All.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 4, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I always thought Penn State had been located in a patch of underpriced farmland, deliberately far from the nearest hamlet. The students were even locked into the dorm/classromm/whatever building at night.

A half-century earlier, the University of North Carolina had similarly been placed in an isolated location to avoid the commotions of the county seat, Hillsborough, which thirty years ago was still an incredibly dull spot.

Gainesville picked up UF because Lake City wasn't much interested in housing the consolidated state colleges. I think G-ville's predecessor's modest brick building is still part of the United Methodist church in the old duck pond neighborhood. The new campus was moved to be safely distant from town.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 4, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

You sure cp,we always called them the ninnylions.....Also really disliked the ninnylion roar over the loud speaker during the games......walk kind of a sound does a turtle make?

Off to work

Go Obama!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 4, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I meant to say
What kind of a sound does a turtle make?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | November 4, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

That's it. I'm going to disable the auto-correct function. It keeps turning honest typos into similar, though wrong, words like "delight" for "delete" and "much" for "must." I'm sorry, but I'm done putting up with this shiatsu.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 4, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Turtles hiss but Terps Roar (and Soar).

Seriously, a landed snapping turtle does hiss. Scary creatures from the black muck. Would eat your finger just as sure as look at you.

$hi@tSu, RD, my goodness. Can you keep a lid on that p0ttie mouth?

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 4, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Back in Feb. Nate Silver predicted the Rays would improve by 22 games, but hedged by saying it didn't necessarily mean they'd win the AL. 'nuff said.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 4, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I had no line when I went in to vote today at 9:30. I drove by later and there were a lot more cars parked around city hall, so I must have gotten in there in between waves of voters. Also, we can both vote early and vote by mail here, so I felt kind of old-fashioned showing up to vote on election day.

Posted by: acinsj | November 4, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Ya gotta give the Penn State football fans and students this much: they have a call-and-response cheer that goes like this:

Call: "Who's Gonna win?"

Response: "Penn State!"

Call: "Thank you!"

Response: "You're Welcome!"

Now in this day and age when so many sports cheers are variations of "You suck!" and creative ideas where to place sexual organs, isn't it refreshing to find a cheer that includes a Boodle-like civility ending with "Thank you" and "You're Welcome"?

My wife and I spent YEARS getting our own kids to mumble that much.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | November 4, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I love you Joel, but #2 is the Red Raiders (Texas Tech), not the Longhorns (University of Texas)! And allow me to say that Tech beat UT by some pretty snazzy playing in the first half, not really a last second miracle play.

Guns up and GOBAMA from a Tech alum (is it obvious?)!

Posted by: schala1 | November 4, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

And *that* Mudge, is why Penn State won't win the National Championship.

I can vouch for snapping turtles hissing and making a remarkable racket. That guy I pulled off the road a few months back sounded like an angry cat when I tried to pick him up.

And besides, Gamera had a pretty cool roar, didn't he?

CP, I snorted at "Knittany Lions."

bc

Posted by: -bc- | November 4, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Ma Frostbitten reports she was voter #370 in her Newport News precinct at 11:30AM-no waiting. Just over 500 people voted in the Frostrent precinct in '04. Her co-worker voting in Hampton had a long wait at 6:00AM as did her boss in VA Beach who voted on his way to work in Newport News.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 4, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

My father went to U. of Pennsylvania in the early 1920s - one of their cheers was:

How do you like your oysters?

Raw, raw, raw!!

Posted by: acinsj | November 4, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I had no idea Penn Staters had a cheer more complicated than WE ARE - PENN STATE.

My favorite Tech cheer is still:
Differential Y
Differential X
To He11 with differentials
We want sex!

And the "When you've said Budweiser, you've said it all" jingle still brings back fond gridiron memories.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 4, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Do any of you sciece geeks remember the cheer beginning "3.14159, secant tangent cosine sine"? It was a favorite at Rice but I've forgotten the rest. We also had one that started something like "X to the X to the X!" Or else that is part of the first one.

A snarkier cheer, instantly understandable to anyone who knows Rice's football record, was "That's okay, we'll take the loss. In ten years will be your boss!"

However, my favorite was always the Existential Cheer: "We are Rice! Ain't that nice? Who are you? Do you know?"

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 4, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, same cheer at Stanford


Dee Exx Dee Exx
Dee Exx Dee Why

Secant
Tangent
Cosine
Sine
Three Point one four one five nine

(insert swaying and some hand signals)

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | November 4, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I'll brag. Teddy Roosevelt called my alma mater's chant the greatest college chant he'd ever heard.

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, KU

Posted by: astromom | November 4, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

There are a number of pretty good limericks (amongst a fair bit of dross, natch) over at the PostPartisan contest. This one amused me:
- - - -

In the past, citizens have been warier --
Such a radical change was a barrier.
But to fear the unknown
Now seems way overblown --
It's so bad that the known's even scarier.

Posted by: DIS2 | November 4, 2008 2:14 PM

Posted by: bobsewell | November 4, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey, astromom! I have some Jayhawk friends and that is indeed a fine cheer. Economical.

We used to hold a Kansas party every year in law school - come dressed as your favorite person or fictional character from Kansas. We had a big cookie shaped like Kansas, with the Flint Hills carefully molded in the corner and a couple of blue icing rivers.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 4, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Carp! One leaves for a little meeting and gets back three kits and a couple hundred of comments late! That'll teach me to wear a tie, the evil thing.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 4, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I also liked this one:
- - - -

As I write this the voters are speaking.
Fox viewers are probably freaking.
But slinging the mud
Has proven a dud -
Hope and change were the things we were seeking.

Posted by: yitke | November 4, 2008 3:07 PM

Posted by: bobsewell | November 4, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom,
And just how many Dorothys do they get every year? I'd be stumped to go much further down the list of famous Kansans than her and John Brown.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 4, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Here's my limericks

Today’s election is historic with little doubt
the pollsters’ predictions are all showing rout
if the polling is right
then maybe it might
let Bradley’s ghost find peace and stop coming out

No greater survivor there can surely be
than John McCain, Vietnam pilot and detainee
but even a veteran of crashes
couldn’t escape from the ashes
of the smoldering wreckage of Bush forty three

“A young Marxist muslim named Hussein
was told by his handlers the game -
lay low, learn the law
join a church, show no flaw”
said the whispers with other theories insane


Sarah, winning an election is like field dressing moose
be careful with your knife or you’ll cut the bowels loose
and if you can’t contain that stuff
you’ll find the going extra tough
and instead of having moose you’ll have your well-cooked goose

Posted by: engelmann | November 4, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, my husband's high school had a similar cheer:

That's all right, that's okay, you're gonna work for us someday!

Yes, they were in the more affluent part of town, but also tended to do quite well athletically. Not particularly well-liked by the other schools. I wonder why.

I just got back from my first vote in the new town -- quick and easy. A combination of small town, middle of the afternoon, and second half of the alphabet. The line for A-K stretched back to the parking lot, but L-Z got to walk right in. A few observations: Here in the South, I'm "Miz Bia." As in, "All right, Miz Bia, sign on this line." Kinda nice. We don't need no stinkin' last names! I hadn't realized I'd get the choice of 7 presidential candidates. So many options, which to choose? (Ha.) I liked that the voting machine printed out my choices on a receipt-like tape, which I got to look at and then cover back up. Nice to feel verifiable and re-countable. All in all, quite a good experience. I'll have to do it again someday.

Posted by: -bia- | November 4, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

To answer my own question, a list of famous Kansans:

http://www.50states.com/bio/kansas.htm

And my memories of the state that isn't as flat as advertised:

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2006/07/crossing-kansas.html

Posted by: yellojkt | November 4, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Headed off to work until 6:15CST or so. Hoping time will go faster there than it has at home today. I had a major grant application to get out by 2:00 and normally the last few hours on those things fly by. Today it felt like I had an eternity to finish and still had a couple hours to spare.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 4, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt - My Kansas grandmom was a Dorothy. So I could say yeah, I knew Dorothy.

Posted by: astromom | November 4, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I seem to be taking the rest of the day off -- maybe even tomorrow if the going gets late.

I spoke with a friend of mine in Sweden, who told me that everyone is glued to the news and hope that Obama will win. So did an African friend who lives outside of London with her family -- they are simply beside themselves with hope for him (and us, of course). They are simply astounded at all the lines at various polling places around the country which show up on their news programs. Yeah, me, too.

And speaking of Detroit Pistons championships (bless my guys), looks like Joe Dumars sent Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess (whom I really, really like) and some other guy off to Denver (Billups' home town, I think) for Allen Iverson. Hmmm, we'll see. We're batting (shooting?) 1000.00 right now, so life is good. But I knew Joe Dumars had something up his sleeve -- he's as good a businessman as he was a basketball player. GO PISTONS!!!

And that, *ahem*, is that. . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | November 4, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Paterno's tenure is beyond astonishing. When I was a student, he was the bright young coach--but still overshadowed a bit by the university's legendary gymnastics coach. By now, all the assistant professors from back then are retired (if they ever got tenure).

which brings up something that surprised me back then. PSU was still hiring fresh PhDs into tenure-track positions, but they seemed very reluctant to actually grant tenure.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 4, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from doing my duty.

And I voted, too.

I was somewhat surprised, actually, that there weren't more people at my polling place. From what I could gather from the poll workers, early morning was extremely busy, followed by a slightly busy late morning and a very busy lunch. I got there about 3:00 and was second in line for my precinct's machines. Got my "I Voted" sticker about 3:15 and was on my way to the liquor store to get my election-results-watching beverages.

I was thinking of taking a little nap before they start releasing the results in case it turns into a long night, but I'm too excited.

All I know is that I better be wide awake when the final decision comes down or I won't be able to live with myself. History doesn't wait for sleepy heads and it ain't every day that something as potentially historic as this comes by.

Posted by: martooni | November 4, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: Moose13 | November 4, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

astromom, as lovely as Lawrence is, I'm sure you'll understand why I mentally root for K State or whoever's playing Kansas (my ex is a rabid Hawk). :-)

Voting report: In my section of the Philly 'burbs there are lots of polling places. No real line, but for the first time I saw other voters before and after me, including my plumber and my elderly next-door neighbors, all of whom voted in an inauspicious manner (I assume, from the pamphlets they were carrying).

I wonder why such a small parcel of the city, with lots of retired people who can vote all day, got 4 voting machines. 2 would have been adequate and yielded only short lines. 1 probably would have been just fine.

There haven't been many yardsigns here except for a young senatorial candidate. Outside the polling center, there were many candidate advocates, including 2 union guys who gave me a paper doorhanger and a large, very nice Obama/Biden button (I'll send them to you next week, dmd). The union sent people out to many polling places and was keeping them supplied with coffee and meals throughout the day.

Main points, nice organization on the part of the Democratic candidates, both local and national, and lots of people voting. I'll take it personally if PA goes for McC/P.

Posted by: -dbG- | November 4, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

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