Monday, September 29, 2008

Best Weekend Ever

Originally Corinne and I planned on being out of town for the debate. We had some reservations about missing a historical moment, but decided that our church retreat and fellowship was more important. Apparently God didn't agree and the trip was canceled.

We still considered leaving since we're way overdue for a visit to Corinne's Mamaw, but after some misgivings, decided that it was a good idea to stay. I'm glad we did.

We were about one degree away from anything exciting happening to us. One couple we know actually scored tickets. One friend had their picture taken with Howard Dean. Someone saw Oprah. Someone else went to the Democratic viewing. All of these exciting things happened to someone we knew, but never us. However, we still had a great time.

During the afternoon we went to visit the Grove. It felt like going to a football game, except there were beat poets and random bands rocking the vote in the Grove and stickers everywhere. You know Mississippians love free stuff and people were covered head to toe in free support swag.

I saw a lot of disappointed looks on some of the booth sponsors who seemed to be hoping for a larger crowd. The crowd itself seemed pretty happy because they could act weird. There were a lot of people acting weird, apparently that's how you be political.

Charles and Elise had a lot of fun dancing and listening to the "flowetry". Charles was so excited he threw up. Actually he was crying because Elise took his American flag and then he threw up. Kids are funny like that.

The throwing up part was a good sign that we had been political enough and it was time to go home and take a break before the actual debate.

I love my kids, but yelling at them can be exhausting and we almost decided to call it a night and watch the debate on the Internets. After some thought and a beer, we decided it was a good idea to go, hell or high throw up. So we packed a stroller, camp chairs and blankets and headed to the Square.

Oxford projected the debate on two big screens off to the side of the county courthouse. I wasn't sure what to expect and was very surprised to find a polite crowd seated in rows of camp chairs waiting for the debate to begin. Oh yeah, they were showing the debate on campus at the Grove as well which is probably why the Square was so subdued.

Elise was asleep before Obama and McCain shook hands and Charles was busy playing with a toy. 30 minutes into the debate when he started to get antsy, I handed him the iPod loaded with cartoons. He'd occasionally look up and yell something like "what did you say?" Kids with earphones are funny. They just don't get the concept.

The night was cool, but not cold and the crowd politely cheered for their candidate. It was like watching the debate with your church, people you might not agree with but didn't want to piss off because you'd see them later.

It was wonderful really. Occasionally I'd look up out of boredom and stare at the stars and wonder how such a community could really exist. It's not utopia, but it's pretty damn pleasant.

I wrote earlier that I was concerned about all of the news coverage being biased against Mississippi. I, like much of Oxford and Mississippi, was defensive because we're often the target of abuse, not praise.

I was wrong to be concerned. I had underestimated Oxford's charm which managed to win over quite a few people. Our progress was more apparent then I thought and we had some nice write ups in the national media.

This is commendable because typically no one really cares much about the host city. It's a location where two greats are debating, a setting not a character.

What was most touching was the pride that Mississippians and people with ties to Oxford seem to feel about the whole event. I read a comment from an old MSU alum who congratulated us despite being Rebels. For one night, Mississippi wasn't just the poor, uneducated fat kid everyone liked to kick when down. We were the star and we held our heads high.

Here is a list of some of the articles written about Oxford.

My favorite is the NPR audio.

USA Travel fluff piece

Commercial Appeal

Daily journal

NPR Scott Simon on Oxford

Clarion Ledger

Commercial Appeal

Giuliani in Oxford

Bob Schieffer returns to Oxford

AP video of Oxford preparation

New Orleans jealous, who knew?

Interesting behind the scenes

long video of debate events with pictures

Oh and to top it all off, the Rebels went down to the "Swamp" and beat the 4th ranked Gators. Really one of the best weekends I've had in a long time.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I Was Going to Post About the Debate

but I'm having to delay the post while I learn to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Yes, Oxford is bitter. Yes, that includes Republicans. Yes, I think it's one big political stunt that has completely blown up in McCain's face and quite possibly cost him the election. Yes, I have decided on who I'm going to vote for.

Yes, it's Elvis.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm Seriously Considering Voting For


There is apparently no one in politics who cares about anything other than politics and money.

The Democrats, who have a majority in both the Senate and the House, have decided to let the ban on offshore drilling expire. Really, what's the excuse here? Is this the best the Democrats can do?

Why did people bother to vote for change, if all we end up getting is the same stuff but with more whining? At least when the Republicans had the majority and the White House, you had an excuse.

So what does offshore drilling buy us? Well, the price of oil will go down in the short term, because that's the way volatile, un-regulated markets behave. But it won't be long before there is a good excuse to pump that price back up. For instance, OPEC could simply reduce production. Never mind that it will be past the first term of the next president before a single drop of oil is actually extracted.

It's also been proven over and over again that the price of oil is not directly related to the price of gas. There is only a correlation when the two are going up. There doesn't seem to be any correlation in the opposite direction. So, no it won't really reduce the price of gas either.

What about energy independence? There is not enough oil to in all of North America to do that. So no, forget that part. Besides as long as we're a little dependant, we're still dependant.

Again, so why would we do this? Money of course. Lots of it. Money for ExxonMobil and politician's campaign funds. Money for taxes and the Federal Government.

I am extremely disappointed in our government right now.

Six Degrees of Separation

are sometimes reduced to one with truly amazing results.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Can Tell Already

The news coverage of Oxford during the debate is going to really piss me off.

This is the first national article I've read about Oxford in terms of the debate.

What does it focus on? Racism of course. Ole Miss's history of racism and how we're trying real hard, but we're still really racist.

My favorite line:

"On a campus where white students still rarely interact with black ones, the debate is leading to discussions across the racial divide"

Sweet goodness, you've got to be kidding me.

The other beauty was how Oxford only has a black enrollment of 14%. In 2006 guess how many blacks were admitted to UCLA. 216.

So why does this piss me off? After all, it is sort of true.

Because Mississippi and the rest of the South is held to some random racial standard that the rest of the country gets a free pass on.

I've lived all over this country and trust me racism in Oxford is nothing compared to racism in Orange County, CA. What? Uh yeah. See, out there the discrimination isn't just a black and white issue, although it's still an issue, but it involves all races. It's so damn prevalent, that people don't even stop to think about it. Slurs are common as well as de facto segregation.

Watch this video and tell me it's not racist. If you tried pulling a stunt like that in Mississippi it'd be a national news story. In California, it's funny.

In Hawaii, they tried to setup a school that only pure Hawaiians could attend. Again, try setting up an all white school in Mississippi and see what happens.

For the record, the school was forced to accept whites, but I don't see stories about Hawaii's troubled racial past when they have a televised college football game. And yes, they have a long history of racism, ask a Haole sometime.

You'll hear the "N" word uttered publicly more times in New York than you ever will in Oxford.
In France, there is no such thing as a black governor.

Give me a fucking break. You come to a beautiful city, full of a wonderful culture and people and the only thing you can think to write about is how damn racist everyone is?

There is no doubt that Oxford has race issues. But we're no different then the rest of the country, except maybe for the fact that we actually try to do something about it.

I know all of the coverage won't be like this, but damn.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Little Catching Up

Yay for high school and college friends. I got to see a couple of them last week and enjoyed their company. Both were randomly drawn to Oxford for various reasons and I'm glad their schedule left them time to hang out.

We didn't really play the "dang we're getting old" game, which I think is a good sign that we've accepted our fate and are getting old.

You'll never have friends like you did in college. Work is too much of an obstacle for that level of bonding. So I definitely treasure the friends I have. Even if some of you fuckers never call back. You know who you are.

I sold the truck. Some of you may know the truck from my blog. If not, basically I owned a really old (24 yrs. old) Toyota pickup truck. This was our second car for a very long time and I spent lots of time driving, fixing, cussing, and caring for it. Sadly, the truck was no longer being driven as often as it should have and I decided that it was best to sell it.

You would be amazed at the level of demand there is for an old truck. Maybe it's the South or something, but I had it sold in less than a week with just a "For Sale" sign in the back. People were calling me constantly wanting to let me know that they really wanted to buy it. I used to receive offers on it, without the "For Sale" sign, so I knew it would go quickly, but it was still amazing the amount of interest that was shown for a rusty old truck.

I sort of miss it, but all is well, because I used the money to buy a computer. This is a very exciting time for the Jackson household, because we actually bought something new. I've been threatening to buy a new computer for some time, but just never could make the leap as long as one of the 7 yr. old laptops still connected to the Internet.

We bought a red Dell Studio 15. It has a back lit keyboard that seems to be malfunctioning, a built in webcam, and a pretty stupid finger print reader. It's amazingly cool (cool as in cold) and quiet and I'm not afraid my testicles are going to spontaneously combust while I blog. Yay for un-burned testicles.

I'm debating whether or not I'll send it back to get the back lit keyboard fix. When it works, it's awesome, but I hate to be computerless for another two weeks while I wait to get it back.

Charles is in 1st grade. He has homework and reading assignments, etc. He's selling Sally Foster wrapping paper and crap to raise money for his school.

Really he's not selling it, we are and I'm not really worried about him raising money for his school as much as I'm worried he'll be upset that he missed the pizza party because we didn't sell enough of this crap. Stupid Sally Foster. If anyone needs some crap, let me know because we're selling it.

Elise is taking gymnastics. I have no idea what that actually means. I've asked her, "Elise what did you do in gymnastics today?" and I get the same response that I get from Charles.

"I don't know."

I try to lead her with questions into telling me what she did, but I have no idea what you do in gymnastics as this age, so I'm not very good at it. "Did you play on the balance beam?" blah.

When she first started, I would have moments of panic when I thought what if she's really good? In gymnastics you peak at age 16 or something. Geez, what if we're already behind and wasting her natural talents.

These are normal panic thoughts for parents and eventually pass when you stare at your little pumpkin who wears clothing 2 sizes big and think, nah no way in hell. Sorry baby, I love you, but I'm not going to hire the Russian coach just yet.

All in all, all is well and all caught up for now.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Last Post About the LHC

So this is what it does.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And in Other News...

The Large Hadron Collider was turned on and the world was not destroyed. Scientists cheered the historical moment with shouts of joy as the system powered up and began to hum and make "collider" like noises.

However, the celebration quickly turned to disappointment and dismay as everyone soon realized that no one was smart enough to read the results and explain if it was actually working.

"We think it's working," Nobel winning physicist Emil Loren is quoted as saying. "But we're just not sure. See these little red spots. We think that's good. The blue and green we're a little iffy on, but the red looks good."

Scientists are now working on the next phase of the CERN project which is to get smarter so they can determine if the LHC is working.

Monday, September 8, 2008

When Two Particles Collide

There is a very big geeky event occurring Wednesday. How big? 17 miles big. Somewhere between France and Switzerland, a European scientific group known as CERN will be firing up their Large Hadron Collider for the very first time.

I remember in college (long time ago) when my physics professor literally drooled as he described working on the collider and the day that it would "go live". Years later and this baby is ready to go.

What will it do? Depends on who you ask. Apparently some people are convinced that a particle collider of this size will quite possibly create a black hole, swallowing up Earth and essentially destroy the solar system. They have sued, cried, protest and sent death threats. But we all know those people are nothing but a bunch of losers, bent on ruining everyone elses fun.

So what will it do? I have no fucking idea. I read the wiki entry and I'm still pretty confused. The best I can tell, the LHC will speed up particles to a ridiculously high rate of speed and ultimately direct them to crash into each other in a head-on collision. This apparently will cause massive hard-ons for balding academics and lead to a flurry of scientific papers full of sexual innuendos about the creation of the universe and big bang theories.

Personally, I don't think it'll work. I mean, look at it.

It's more complicated than the Millennium Falcon. We still have trouble building cruise control for cars consistently and you expect me to believe that somehow a bunch of nerds got this thing to work? It'd be one thing if this was built in Japan, but France? Monsieur please.
All kidding aside, I hope it does work. Decades of work and tons of money have been poured into this project by a large unselfish international community, all in the name of science. This very well could represent our generation's version of the first man on the moon. I may not know exactly what it'll do, but I have a good idea what it represents if it succeeds. Besides it looks cool as hell. Something neat has to come out of it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

You so Crazy

Democrats, Republicans and Moderates are spinning with McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as a Vice President. The Dems are pointing out how bad of a choice it was and are furiously digging for dirt and skeletons. Republicans are wondering why Huckabee and Romney got passed over, but are excited about a woman that is relatively attractive and likes to shoot large animals with large caliber weapons. Moderates are shaking their heads trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

The real question is how will this all play out? McCain has consolidated his base. I truly believe this despite what the liberals want to say. Palin is extremely conservative and will appeal to all the conservatives despite her past. Let me emphasize that part again. DESPITE HER PAST. The only thing that could sink her would be if she had an abortion at some point growing up. Anything short of that will not stick with the Republicans.

What about the moderates? If McCain is smart, he'll let Palin deal with the conservatives and move towards the middle and collecting moderates. He'll paint Obama as a hedonistic liberal determined to take money from the "middle class" and give it to the non-working poor. He'll talk about national security and how the country must be made safe. He'll stay away from Bush. He'll talk about "work" programs that will help stimulate the country, just like FDR. I'll even bet he comes up with a program that plays off of the "New Deal".

If McCain is dumb, he'll talk about Obama being a celebrity. He'll talk about lack of experience in diplomatic situations. He'll downplay Democratic energy proposals.

And the Dems? They should be quietly digging into Palin's past and holding anything good until November. They should be appealing to the middle with solutions for the economy and energy. They should give clear examples of Obama's "toughness" and his ability to deal with bullying nations or terrorists. They should put a muzzle on Biden.

Obama should stop trying to tie McCain to Bush. This is getting old and he can let Biden and the rest of the Dems make this argument on his behalf. Obama should stay away from anything that could be seen as weakness towards the situation in the Middle East.

I'm still undecided, but leaning towards Obama. His acceptance speech was incredible and he should absolutely destroy McCain during the debates. McCain was smart to announce his VP pick the day after the speech. He totally sucked up the media attention.

I think economy and energy are going to be the most important issues to me this year. I think that probably reflects what most of the moderates are thinking.