Friday, September 26, 2008

A Win for the Nats

As the National eclipse the 100 loss barrier, we struggle to find a positive for our lovable losers (beyond the smiling face of Manny Acta, mind you). We look for a silver-lining on the season, and some positive press, ok, any press for the Nats. I posit that perhaps we can take some comfort in knowing that among DC foodies, the Nationals take the prize.
Among the offerings at our local sports venues, Nationals Park offers a tempting array of culinary treats. First off, I must clear the air and admit that of my three visits to Nationals Park, two have been to see the Cubs. Don't judge too quickly, however. I have praise to heap. Not only is the selection at Nationals park incredibly variant, with all of the major junk food categories covered (as well as minor, with kosher knishes and multi-grain pretzels available as well). Fans also have to applaud the effort to include local favorites such as Ben's Chili Bowl, Red Hot & Blue, Cantina Marina, even the ice cream. Plus, if you can't find something inside the park, you can carry in. You could dine on something new and delicious if you attended a game for several nights in a row (last time I checked, no one, even the beat writers, had done so). Even the sports bar, with great game views, multiple televisions to check out other sports action, and a respectable selection on tap, gets points.
Not that the other local sports venues put up much of a fight. In comparison, Verizon, FedEx, and RFK aren't even in the ballpark (ok, that pun was just too obvious to not be intended). Verizon has burgers and chicken fingers, and comparably short lines, but that's all that's worth mentioning...Now that RFK is limited to DC United games, it is difficult to get more than a hot dog...And FedEx, quite possibly worst of the three, let's just discuss Daniel-Snyder-ten-dollar-Johnny-Rocket-burger (pretend drunken men with Cajun accents are repeating this over and over; the effect is much funnier).
Nationals Park also stacks up well when compared with its MLB counterparts, quite well in fact. Take the Cubs for instance, where the malt cup and lemon ice, the Wrigley staples from my childhood, still play prominent roles. At least some things you can count on, because evidently the Cubs sucking it up is not one of them anymore (two division championships in a row, what is this?!). We still have the playoffs though, so don't fret too much. I'm sure a Bartman, or Buckner, or a pesky goat will come by to knock us down a notch or two. Ok, before I turn this into an entirely different post....

This season was sad for the Nats. Not only was the performance rather pathetic, but attendance was as well. The Nats can do better, and we expect them to. They are going to need some fan support, though. So, a challenge; go for the food, and stay for the game. While dining on the tasty goodness, cheer on the Nats a bit as well. Perhaps we'll have something to look forward to beyond our happy bellies.

Monday, September 8, 2008

It's a Dog-Eat-Dog World

My dog is currently getting away with murder - she's in the "teenage stage" of puppyhood and chewing up what she sees. Yesterday's victim was our coax cable. You'd think the girl didn't eat. For goodness sakes, she gets an all organic diet. Her snacks include freeze dried liver; isn't that basically foie gras?! But, nooooo, she needs to supplement with the occasional rug here and there. I, on the other hand, need to start treating my stomach with the same love as my dog's. Yesterday's pizza supplemented with upside-down cake has me feeling a little nasty today.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Where have you gone Joe DiMagg...I mean, John McCain?

Oh dear, I'm quite afraid this post may go on and on. You see, I've pent up all of my feelings and not yet blogged about this tiny little issue facing America - just the small chore of electing our next Commander in Chief. You see, we all know that it will be ok. Even if we seriously f@#$! up, it can't get any worse. It just has to get better, right?

Why then, do I address this election with such consternation? Why then, do I feel that we are at the most important crossroads of our lifetimes, maybe those of our parents as well? Why am I totally stressing out this decision after over a year of campaigning and before a single debate?

You see, to begin, I need to go back about 8 years, when I was in college - hopeful, idealistic, stubborn - ok maybe I'm not as jaded as I think - maybe I'm still hopeful, idealistic, stubborn. Anyway, back then, I informally volunteered for McCain's first presidential campaign. I admired, respected, really adored him during that time, back before the social conservatism that defines the right was so gripping, back before Karl Rove decided who Republicans should vote for, back when things kind of made sense. That's when we needed to elect John McCain. Now the choice is whether we should.

Over the last two weeks, I've seen a lot of interesting displays. I've come to find that Joe Biden, while fake, pushy, and well, too much of a union lover for my taste, is not really as bad as I thought. I've learned a lot about the families and backgrounds of Obama and McCain. I've learned that Cindy McCain has had a lot of work done (she really used to be a pretty lady). I've discovered that I don't think I can take two more months of listening to Sarah Palin's annoying voice. I've felt for young Bristol Palin, being used as a token symbol, as news cameramen were barely able to point their lenses away from she and her boyfriend during her mom's speech.

After these two weeks, I'm more torn than ever as to how I should vote this time around. I've believed in John McCain for a long time. I think he's a good man, with good ideas, and the brashness to think independently. Suddenly, however, McCain's ideas and independence have disappeared, replaced with the party lines of Karl Rove. In the last year, suddenly McCain is pro-life? His realistic immigration plan (the only one to be found among any presidential candidates this go round) isn't being mentioned at all? Our climate crisis seems to not concern him anymore? Is McCain willing to do this to get elected? And worse, is this what it takes to get elected in this country?

Truly, I thought both candidates' nomination acceptance speeches were emotional and inspiring. Both men were in their element. This WAS John McCain, the real one. But, when the REAL John McCain stood up at his own party's convention, he found no support for being himself. Who were these backwoods idiots filling Xcel Energy Center? OMG, any non-partisan idea was met with limp-handed applause. Anything that might move our country forward was just a segue for the next potential social issue for the old, white, ignorant, hate-filled lynch mob (I won't go into appearances, it would just be too much) - it's like they were waiting on baited breath for him to mention a Constitutional ban on gay marriage. Frankly, they seemed quite upset that abortion's not at the top of McCain's agenda. Rudy Guiliani - don't get me started; that was just disgusting. AND, lest I forget, did you hear about the vulgar threats hurled at Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams, the liberal media, according to that crowd?! Tom Brokaw - Grandpa??!!

This new Republican Party is not the one I signed up for - and I mean signed up, as in registered. I am tried and true a fiscal conservative. I believe in small government. Allegedly, my party does too. Though, you wouldn't know it these days. Do any of these narrow-minded imbeciles understand what pro-choice means? Do they understand that it means the government doesn't invade every facet of your life? Do they understand that as much as a woman has the choice to not keep her child, she has the equal choice to have that child, even if disabled or potentially fatal to the mother? Quite simply, the answer is no. (Personally, I think we have Bill Clinton to blame for this - if he'd been able to keep it in his pants, W wouldn't have prevailed on a pure family-values platform. We wouldn't have been in this mess because McCain would have been our nominee. Bill's the one to blame. That, and the fact that Al Gore is just annoying.)

Then, these Rovites (ew, new one, I might use this again) try to streamline social and fiscal conservatism into one neat little pre-wrapped package available at your local Wal-Mart. Puh-lease. Can you imagine how much the pointless litigation to overturn Roe v. Wade costs our judicial system in any given year? How expensive would it be to enforce a ban on abortions? How many resources would it take to keep up with the millions of additional humans in this country if abortions were illegal? Let's not pretend that your social agendas can possibly lead to low taxes.

Sometimes it takes a defeat to actually re-orient and get back in touch with America. It may be what Republicans need. Sadly for McCain, that time is probably now. If he wins, however, the right will just say "look, we can just keep trotting this stuff out every four years and win again" and they would be right.

So, I'm left with a candidate I used to love who is pandering and surrounded by this crowd of people who disgust me. The alternative is an inspirational figure who could symbolize an enormous change for this country, but whose policies I fear would mean economic disaster. The problem is that change may have to cost us. Oh dear, what's a voter to do? Hopefully, the debates will give me some direction.