October 2016

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Because Chad just ordered a giant (three feet long) bright yellow fiberglass duck for Mulberry’s Home, and because we’re all reeling from a bitter election season that has descended so far into satire that a Missouri senate candidate’s poll numbers are surging due to an ad featuring him assembling an assault rifle blindfolded, I’m turning this week to lighter, more duck-oriented topics from July of 2015. I planned to write about the long-lost principle of representative government, and how the whole point of voting used to be selecting the candidates who you felt were best prepared to represent your interests and values. Then came PussyGate on the national front and ominous warnings from Those-Who-Won’t-Be-Named about ‘special interests’ taking over the PUSD on the local front, and it all started to seem as ridiculous as, well, a duck face.

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I detested William Safire’s politics, yet his “On Language” column used to bring me great joy most Sunday mornings. Case in point: way back in 1998, he gave an insightful play-by-play on how a word we can’t seem to escape from this election season won the race to describe the opposite of ‘opacity.’ According to Safire, if things had gone differently, we might be complaining about Hilary Clinton’s ‘frankness’ or pointing to Donald Trump’s continued refusal to release his tax returns as part of his ‘verifiability’ problem. Other contenders back in the day? Openness. Scrutability. Diaphaneity. Pellucidity. Visibility.

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If there are Piedmonters out there who plan to vote ‘no’ on Measure H1 on November 8th [full disclosure: I share a bed with a Measure H1 Co-Chair], I haven’t met them yet. But I’m guessing I know a few things about them nonetheless.  (more…)

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I realize that my occasional self-righteousness can make people angry. (Vaguely related side note — best line in Kelly Corrigan’s Nantucket Project closing remarks: “self righteousness feels good for a minute, like pee in your pants feels warm for a minute.”) For years I’ve known my driving can make the most mild-mannered citizens irate. And I’m well aware that my tendency to not quite shut drawers makes my husband furious. But I only recently learned that my punctuation might be ticking people off.

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I’ve heard there are people in the world who are not Bruce Springsteen fans. I’ve even met some, for example my brother-in-law, who has spent most of his adult life in New Jersey of all places. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not even a super fan. I’ve only seen the Boss in concert three times and probably know fewer than half of his songs. But still, I’m writing this racked with anxiety hours before the first presidential debate, and the fact that the same world which produced the vile, repulsive Donald Trump could also produce a man of such beauty and truth is giving me tremendous comfort.

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