In two weeks (on November 2n 2010 - to be precise), we once again get the chance to determine the destiny of our free people. And, friends, this time the stakes are high. With this choice looming over us and knowing that many feel that no difference can be made by us schmooes, well I thought I'd post this piece I wrote and performed in the hope that we all turn off "Jersey Shore" and get out and do the right thing. And encourage all we know to do the same thing. Vote. Early and often.
Our voices carry...
I guess a lot of people didn't notice - at least not until the news broke that the duly elected democratic candidate for Lt. Governor pawned himself and became yet another Illinois political pariah over his "youthful indiscretions" with prostitutes and money laundering - but we recently had an election here in the Great State of Illinois. And, judging by turnout data, not many folks really cared, although that still doesn't explain the cacophony of voices raised in song when Todd Stroger garnered a mere 13% of the vote.
Now I am not here to spank anyone - unless there are willing volunteers. Nor am I here to shake anyone out of their apathy.
I know how easy it is these days to become cynical and detached from the process that is our responsibility. Giving a damn is hard work. I know it is way simpler to come home after a hard day of looking for work and tune into "American Idol" or the "Biggest Loser" or any of the other candyland commercial crap corporate media puts out there to distract us from becoming informed citizens.
After all, We the People, as TAX FEARING AMERICANS, know that Marx had it all bolluxed up. Religion is not the opiate of the people: Celebrity is. I know too that the Jeffersonian ideal of an informed populace, genuinely involved and interested in the political process passed into history decades before we questioned Lady Gaga's gender or Brittany stepped out of the limo without panties.
So, like I say, I am not here to take anybody to the woodshed. And, I wouldn't presume to tell anyone what to do. No, all I am here to do is tell you my own personal voting story. Take from it what you will.
It's February 4th in Chicago. I don't have to tell you what that means. Primary elections!!!
I walked into my polling place - A church, can you dig on that? 'So much for separation of Church and State' I thought. But, I had resolve.
I had also had a couple beers with some friends before heading over to the church to practice my civic faith, so I kinda had to pee and seeing how's it's winter and what with all the gear and layers and whatnot I wear this time of year, tending to this simple bodily function tends to be as complicated as assembling Ikea furniture while tripping on acid.
That being the case I decided to fulfill my obligation to the general welfare of my increasingly unpredictable bladder before attempting to fulfill my obligation to the general welfare.
Blessedly relieved, I stood in line behind my similarly civic minded citizens (both of them) for a whopping three minutes thinking: 'Whoa, thank god I hit the can first.' I stepped up to the registrar and handed her my expired driver's license and my voter registration card - good citizens like Boy Scouts and porn stars are always prepared.
An interminable minute went by as they located my name on the registration list and I began to worry that I'd forget the name of one judicial candidate - a law school classmate of mine - for whom I simply had to cast a "yes" vote for because in this well informed citizen's opinion she deserved the hell of serving on the Circuit Court of Cook County for turning me down when I asked her out.
After highlighting my name in sharpie yellow, the registrar handed me back my invalid identification and my voter card and showed me where to place my illegible signature on the long blank line with the big X in front of it. The registrar handed my signed affirmation to the election judge who, duly and with great deferential fumbling about, placed it on a two ring binder.
The election judge, a young man who I guessed to be a mormon Republican, in his mid twenties, wearing a flag pin and enough Brylcreem to shame Ronald Reagan, grinned a shiny toothy grin up at me and asked which ballot I wanted.
I smiled my best snarky smile and said: "Dude, I rode my bicycle here." The election judge's grin widen into a dragon size smile, blinding in its brilliance, making me very thankful that I had neglected to remove my sun glasses and shouted down the table: "Democrat!"
'What is up with that?' I wondered, clutching my ballot much as I imagine Moses clutched the Ten Commandments on his stroll down Sinai. Halfway to the voting booth I turned and caught the judge's eye and said very quietly, not wishing to disturb the austere atmosphere of this citadel of citizenship: "How did you know?"
Again the glaring, dragon smile beamed forth as the judge said, "Dude, Republicans don't ride bicycles."
With laughter on my lips and a Tip O' my Hat, I stepped into the booth to cast my ballot.
Seriously, I wanted to link this up to funny pictures and articles, blog posts, and the tons of other crap I read every day, but man, it's later in the day on a Friday and there is a lady waiting. Vote.
I have become addicted to twitter over the last couple months. It is now my "go-to" website (That would be an interesting blog post -- a list of my favorite websites through the years.) Why? It seems like you are having a conversation with people.
It is worth signing up for twitter just to follow
Roger Ebert, he provides links to his excellent blog, retweets other great twitterers (are these real words?), and adds other great content. Trust me, check his feed out for a week, you will be amazed.
The rest of the people I follow are somewhat evenly divided between lefty political pundits, sports journalists (mostly basketball, basketball writers are the best), and WWE wrestlers. There's probably someone out there who has great gardening tweets, great soul music tweets, great mystery writer tweets, I hope I find them.
You can follow me on twitter at deano_a_martino. I will try to tweet at least once a day for the next month.
Posted by deano martino at 12:24 AM
No offense to our four wheeled friends, but y'all are morons. If Shannon and me rolled through the city with as much negligent care as y'all show while operating 2,000 lbs. of plastic and steel capable of manslaughter we long ago would have met our maker. And she would have some major explaining to do.
After all, god - whoever she is - rides a bike.
Now, before y'all go postal on us - and believe us a shot-gun blast to the chest would feel orgasmic compared to what we are feeling now - we are fully aware that to some extent us and certainly many of our two wheeled tribe are complete malcontents.
We regularly rewrite and abuse the "Rules of the Road", we blow lights, ignore stop signs, dance and weave in totally unpredictable ways and generally make a huge and terrifying nuisance of ourselves. And, while we freely confess these sins, my penance should not result in me and Shannon and our fellow two-wheelers being treated as extras in Death Race 2000.
Having confessed and received forgiveness through pain and terror, we beg you four-wheelers allow us to remind you of your sins. We do not ask you to confess, nor do we seek your redemption, we merely ask that you wake the fuck up.
We know what Shannon and me do, we confess and receive redemption in ruined tans, fleeting terror and extreme pain. The occasional bent wheel or busted frame. That is the share of paradise we purchased. We are content with our choice. Bodies heal. Bikes break. And, Shannon, in case you are interested, is fine - huge streak of indestructible in that bad-ass girl.
The simple things apply, as time goes by. And having confessed our sins, absolution gives us the arrogance to point yours out to you.
Remember we own stock in your dumbfucktitude.
This is what we don't do.
We do not think the place we are going to (yeah, usually a bar) is more important than than the place you are going to (usually home or work or some equally boring place) so our question is why not relax a dash and enjoy the scenery - sometimes the scenic route and a little patience yields unexpected rewards.
We do not apply make-up while riding. Nor do we consume McCrap™ breakfast food or dose ourselves with three dollar hits of the national drug (we like our buzz from a straw - after we get to the bar).
We do not talk on our phone or text while riding - bejeebus folks who the hell do you HAVE to talk to at 7:30 a.m. while violating speed laws on Milwaukee Avenue? I happy that you got laid - really I am, wish I could - but can't you wait until you get to the office to supply the prurient details?
We do not exit our vehicles, such as they are - 17 lbs. of steel and rubber and wire - on the TRAFFIC side, nor do we consider the street an adjunct of our driveway. If you have to put baby away or unload all that organic food (if you re so fooking GREEN why are you driving a Hummer?) do it curb-side.
Believe me that door swinging open - traffic-side - on Damen is scarier than your over-mortaged condo or your third nipple. Rear-view mirrors are really handy in seeing what is coming at your from the backside. Maybe that's why they come standard at no extra cost. YOu use the fooking mirror under the sun visor, try the one hanging off your door.
Look friends, we understand your driving addiction (though we must confess, we do not get the whole caffeine thing) and we are not asking you you to go cold turkey or get all hipster (some how we just can't see you on a fixie beatin' it through Wicker Park on a Friday afternoon), but we do ask that you exercise a wee dash of common sense.
You are operating a potential deadly weapon. Remember that the next time you get this overwhelming desire to eat and drive or text and drive or whatever other acts of dumbfucktitude your regularly commit while behind the wheel. Remember that me and Shannon are out there doing the same thing you are - trying to get somewhere we need or want to be.
Difference is, Shannon and me well we don't hurt folks (other than ourselves) when we do something stoopid. Hell, we won't even take a pot shot at Dick Cheney. And even if we did we would never blame the bunny.
Please. Drive Care-Fully
Posted by Wine Spills Everywhere at 10:08 AM
ORANJE! Hup Hup!
Very excited for tomorrow. Go Netherlands (even though I like Spain and they are the more stylish side)! Come over if you want, we will be serving mosselen friet (french fries) with mayonnaise, coleslaw, and gouda. Damn a Spanish menu would be much more exciting.