Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Quote of the Week

In celebration of Twin Cities Restaurant Week...

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
- Luciano Pavarotti

Saturday, February 23, 2008

About Faced

Ignoring people who trigger dreadful memories was once an option to suppress the anger, sadness and frustration over lost loves and friends. Those days are gone, replaced by an information age making it impossible to romanticize a past that just will not go away. It all started with “googling,” the guilty pleasure of searching old crushes, lovers, friends, and enemies and soon spun out of control with social networking websites aimed at connecting users to their past. The only thing more dreaded in cyberspace then the dilemma on whether to accept, reject or ignore a friend request is whether to send your own friend request to a forgotten friend.

Keeping up with friends and family around the globe is certainly easier with a connection online. Whether that connection is through email or a networking website the world just feels smaller knowing those you care about are only a few clicks away. Googling made it possible to find lost connections, those people whose memory remained vivid despite the passage of time. What was nice about googling was the ability to steer clear of those you chose to; the practice of looking people up was proactive and controlled, if you didn’t want to find someone chances are you wouldn’t. Even if you did find someone it was often difficult to actually contact them making random, unwanted correspondence rare. With a whole industry focused on online networking people can now come out of the woodwork, leading to mixed amounts of excitement and disappointment.

It is exciting and touching to hear from a missed friend, remember all the good times and be able to share in their “new” lives. Through the internet I have reconnected with my closest and best friend from my childhood after our college years separated us and found relatives who fill in missing gaps in my genealogy. The internet allows us to stay connected with family and friends who are thousands of miles away. It is also easier to keep in touch with friends who are busy raising their families and advancing their careers. It is fun to see the names and faces of people whom you once cared about and remember the time and memories shared.

The human mind is amazing in its capacity to suppress or alter painful memories. There are plenty of people our brains elect to forget for one painful, heart wrenching reason or another. Sometimes we recall ex-lovers more fondly then they deserve with the fog of time and distance dulling the heartbreak. It is these ghosts from relationships past that shock the system when they suddenly appear in a friend request. Even without a friend request is it hard not to be spooked by these ghosts when websites actually suggest names of people you could know, often with eerie levels of accuracy. Then you are forced into the quandary whether to befriend the individual or pretend their names are not staring at you from the screen. What makes the struggle worse is that same person is probably looking at your name in their profile wondering if they want to be friends with me still?

On a positive note, many have reconnected with their exes and old friends online to discover they were meant to be after all. How many people break up because priorities at that time focused on things other then relationships? Relationships are all about timing; what did not work 10 years ago can work great for people giving it another chance. Someone should conduct a study to see if re-connecting on social networking sites is a better way of finding love than on dating sites. Somehow I do not think match.com or eHarmony would like the findings.

Online friendships add a level of complexity to one’s committed relationships. The “rules” on dealing with exes through traditional communication channels are a bit more defined and for most couples there are boundaries and guidelines to when it is acceptable to talk to or see an ex. Rules and etiquette as to when it is okay to befriend an ex online are still somewhat unwritten. Finding, or being found by, exes online does evoke a certain amount of nostalgia but then there is that little issue of how the person you are spending your nights with feels about the ex. Having an ex on facebook is much different then catching a cup of coffee with them to rehash old times. Everyone is different on how they handle this but here is typically how this happens at our household:
  • The Husband: My ex-girlfriend sent me a friend request.
  • Chelle: So?
  • The Husband: Is it okay if I accept?
  • Chelle: Are you actually asking me permission to have a friend on facebook?
  • The Husband: Sorta
  • Chelle: Are you interested in her?
  • The Husband: No, but she’s probably not interested in me either.
  • Chelle: Oh I don’t know, after all the years of hard work I’ve put into you she might want you now. You cleaned up quite nicely.
  • The Husband: You’re such a bitch, just for that I’m accepting her request.
There are certainly a few people who should forever remain in the distant past; however, it has been quite the experience over the past few years reconnecting with some men who broke my heart, and whose hearts I didn’t treat with care. Reaching out to people who dumped me is easier then those I broke up with; it is easier forgive the guy who dumped me for a Victoria’s Secret model or the one who decided that he liked Michael’s better than Michelle’s then to forget how stupid and immature I was in ending some relationships. With hindsight it is possible to gain some valuable lessons from each failed relationship and as painful as the past might be there are so many good things that can come from reconnecting. If you are single an old relationship might become a new one and everyone can benefit from seeing and hearing from exes; what better reminder of whom you once were and how far you have come.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Quote of the Week

Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties.
- Doug Larson

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sasquatch in the City

Last week was one of those weeks where Tuesday felt like Friday and the only things slower then the workday were the people around me. No matter how hard I worked or how many hours were logged at the office my to-do list only got longer and longer. Dreams quickly turned into nightmares as my coworkers took center stage even at night, reminding me in sleep just how much there is to do. Running around the office, desperately attempting to chip away at the laundry list of must-dos I was confronted by a co-worker who wanted to talk to me about something very important, something that had been bothering her for weeks. Her hushed tone and secretive approach had me both worried and intrigued, wondering if anything could have gone terribly wrong with deliverables on a project where she and I crossed paths. Much to my surprise the important conversation was not on that project or a client question. Our conversation turned personal very quickly as she begun with “You’re a very pretty girl but…”

It is amazing that the sentence did not actually take a long pause with the word “but” yet my brain had enough time to process hundreds of possible endings. It is almost embarrassing to admit the myriad of things that went through my head to finish off this backhanded compliment. The first was one I have unfortunately heard from family and strangers for decades; “you would be beautiful if you lost some weight.” Intense sadness overwhelmed me as I thought of all the times I heard those words and all the girls who still hear in various ways that only thin girls are beautiful. Shaking off the sting from those haunting words my mind went into overtime trying to prepare for any other potential things this co-worker was going to say. You’re a pretty girl but… you should cut your hair, wear makeup, change deodorant, wax your eyebrows, use a breath mint, stand straight, watch your language, or find Jesus. What else could she possibly say?

You could just imagine my surprise when this co-worker completed her sentence with “you wear the most awful shoes.” Apparently my shoes are big, clunky and not very feminine and if I would just wear better shoes I would be more graceful. Out of everything I expected from the conversation I never expected the focus to be on my shoes. I was completely prepared with a retort on my weight, makeup, hair or breath but could not for the life of me formulate a response about my shoes. After looking down at my feet the only thing I could communicate was it was winter and I will not wear dainty shoes in the snow. The shock on my face was apparent but I could not spit anything out of my mouth that would be constructive, appropriate or witty. Shock quickly turned into disbelief as I replayed the un-welcomed and unwarranted fashion advice.

This unusual conversation could qualify as an HR violation but my coworker meant no harm. She was trying to bestow some honest advice which makes me seriously wonder how many others she chatted to about my gigantic shoes before having the courage to schedule a footwear intervention. A partner with my first post-college employer once approached me about my attire. She did not wish to embarrass or offend me but felt as a woman in a man’s world she needed to give me career advice that I could take or leave. Her advice; even in a business casual culture it is important for a woman, especially a blonde woman, to dress for success if she wants to be taken seriously. There were many times in my career that I did not heed her advice and at those times I realized just how right she was; when I wear a suit people treat me with a higher level of authority, but my shoes?

Men with foot fetishes are not ones to give me a second look and modeling agencies have yet to knock down the door with a shoe modeling contract. Trips to the shoe store are just slightly less painful then a root canal. With big feet it is nearly impossible to find shoes in my size let alone “cute” shoes. Size 6 shoes displayed in storefront windows are adorable but those same shoes in a size 10 and above look like small tug boats. To make matters worse my feet often swell as a result of breaking both, in separate incidents, within the past 5 years (for the record, neither of those accidents were a result of bad shoes). So not only is it impossible to find shoes that fit but when I do they end up being more functional then fashionable. If it were not completely inappropriate for the workplace my paws would wear nothing but flip-flops, allowing plenty of room to swell. The development of my nasty purse habit is directly correlated to shoe envy, jealous of women who could fill their closets with the latest stilettos and espadrilles.

Considering the suggestion that smaller shoes would lead to more grace and beauty is appealing. After a lifetime of being large and clumsy was the right pair of shoes the only thing needed to complete my modern day Cinderella story? Could I somehow become the picture of charm and poise when Prince Shoesalesman slipped on the right pumps? It is a nice thought but somehow I do not think a pair of Jimmy Choos or Manolo Blahniks would transform me or any other woman into the picture of elegance. Dainty girls don’t throw shot put, play rugby or bounce at bars. At five foot nine and 195 pounds it is safe to say there is not a dainty bone in my body and no shoe in the world will ever transform that. Shoes are only magical in fairy tales or for women with itty bitty feet. The rest of us have to find our fashion magic elsewhere.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Quote of the Week

Happy Valentine's Day
What the world really needs is more love and less paper work.
- Pearl Bailey

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Happiest Restaurant on Earth

Disney World, the happiest place on earth, is now an even happier place for those who want to indulge in an Adult Friendly evening. Victoria and Albert’s, a five star restaurant in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, officially adopted a policy of no children under the age of ten at the start of 2008. The decision on the part of Disney management is one to be applauded; no one should be subject to a misbehaving child during $125 prix fixe meal. Some argue that this is the newest addition to a growing number of “child-unfriendly” policies sweeping the nation but few are addressing the root cause of the issue; why are businesses compelled to ban children?

Victoria and Albert’s is the definition of an upscale dining experience. Upon arriving each woman receives a single red rose and diners are escorted to a very small and private dining room. Guests enjoy a 2 ½ hour multi-course gourmet meal served with white gloves in an atmosphere compete with harpist. For an extra $60 above the base price of $125 you can enjoy a wine pairing with each course; this is a culinary event and not just a dinner. Does this sound like the kind of place to bring a child under the age of 10? Management attempted to communicate the adult setting of this restaurant with the absence of children’s pricing, yet parents insisted on bringing their young children. Ultimately the high number of complaints directed towards ill-behaved children forced Disney to take action, ensuring their key clientele paying top dollar would have the perfect evening they were looking for. Interestingly enough, reports indicate the biggest complaints came from parents who were trying to get away from children for the evening.

Disney is not alone. There are a growing number of restaurants, shops and bars addressing the presence of children on their premises. Ultimately it boils down to one thing; there is a time and a place for children and too many parents have demonstrated their inability to draw the line as to when and where children are appropriate. Fancy restaurants, rowdy bars, adult theaters and antique shops are just a few examples of businesses that are not designed for children and are taking official action to keep them out. Even casual restaurants and cafes are starting to create policies so their diners without children, or with well-behaved children, are not forced to endure inconsiderate parents and their misbehaving brood.

There is parental backlash against establishments enforcing a brat-free environment. Parents with a sense of entitlement are going so far as to bring age-discrimination lawsuits when denied entry or asked to leave when their child is acting up. This anger and action against restaurants is terribly misplaced. Rather then focusing upon busines policies shouldn’t we instead focus on the mounting parental irresponsibility driving the need for these policies? Even parents who actually have darling, perfectly behaved children recognize there are other parents who refuse to discipline and control their offspring and children-free policies are making up for a lack of common sense.

A combination of political correctness and mommy-mania has us dancing around the issue of parents refusal to supervise their children causing chaos, running around restaurants, tripping patrons and waitstaff, disrupting conversations, ruining everyone’s day and becoming a danger to themselves and those around. What is a sad testament to the state of our society is how many parents do not notice or care about their children running amok. Few parents take criticism of their children very well and most are horrified when confronted with the suggestion their child is anything less then perfectly behaved, becoming indignant when confronted. The worst behaved children are often the offspring of parents who would accept a request to gouge their eyes out with a sugar spoon sooner than a request to shut their kids up; making it nearly impossible to communicate when junior is causing angst amongst diners.

Even worse are those who claim this disorderly conduct is a normal part of growing up and calming children down is an impossible task or one that will hurt their fragile self-esteem. These parental excuses are leading to generations of children who without the most basic understanding of politeness and respect are ill-equipped to function upon leaving the nest. Some parents argue that these restaurant bans will actually limit their ability to teach children how to behave while dining out which is nothing short of absurd. Like all good lessons that of table manners can begin at home. If parents allow their children to run around the house and act up during mealtimes this behavior will not miraculously disappear when entering a fine French restaurant. Children can even learn table manners at McDonald’s if parents demand them to behave with the same courtesy and respect that is expected in a higher class restaurant. The lessons of public etiquette and behavior should be approached much like our schooling; just as we don’t expect a five year old to thrive in high-school algebra we shouldn’t expect that same five year old to master the skills necessary to dine in a five star restaurant. Even restaurants that cater more to children should not be viewed as a playground; no one visiting Applebee's expects an intimate and quiet dinner but that is no excuse to let children hang from the rafters.

Parents also argue that they are entitled to enjoy a fine meal just as much as non-parents forgetting that part of the choice to have children includes sacrificing visits to restaurants that serve foie gras. Unless willing to hire a babysitter parents should stick to restaurants with high chairs, children’s menus, kids eat free specials and placemats with crayons. Children will still get a night out with their parents and will be far happier with chicken finger then goose liver. There are far more places that cater to children then those that don’t. Those who enjoy the pleasure of an intimate dining experience or even a quiet coffee shop should support businesses brave enough to stand up to “family-friendly” pressures to provide an adult-friendly atmosphere.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Super Menu VIII

It was inevitable that our 8th annual Super Bowl party, themed to match the host and team cities, would include New England. New England's continuous visits to the Super Bowl make keeping the menu fresh and unique quite challenging. Sick of Boston Baked Beans and Clam Chowder, the New Jersey Giants and Arizona were favored heavily on this year’s menu. We enlisted the help of friends and family in the preparation and presentation of our annual Super Bowl feast and the outcome was far better then any of the commercials that night.

Arizona was well represented this year with our friend Amy assigned the state and enlisting the assistance of our friends Tara, Chris, Sara and Wade. With our brutally cold winter it was nice to warm up with some fine Southwestern faire. Amy made her world famous Enchiladas served piping hot with her homemade Guacamole. Tara’s Corn Salsa presented in a giant margarita glass was both beautiful and tasty. Bottles of Patron Tequila from Amy, Sara, Wade, Chris and Tara made for very tasty Prickly Pear Margaritas. Wade and Sara spiced up the party with Chili Beer, every bottle complete with its own chili pepper. The stadium bundt pan made and appearance; the caramel cake decorated with Vikings purple and yellow (dare to dream!).

New York/New Jersey included many of my hometown favorites. Mom hooked us up with Gabila’s Knishes and Wise Onion and Garlic potato chips, two things I import back to Minnesota every time I visit my family. Like every good tailgater at the Meadowlands we made Italian Sausages and topped them with roasted peppers and onions. We visited Breadsmith the morning of the big game to get fresh hot dog buns for the sausages and discovered they also sell soft pretzels. Even with the frigid temperatures we fired up the grill and cooked all the New York food outside and discovered that nothing beats soft pretzels with a smoky flavor. Tara and Chris provided us with a White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake to satisfy our sweet teeth.

New England's presence on the menu was almost bypassed altogether but decided we had to pay homage to the AFC representative in the game. Wade whipped up a Crab and Lobster Dip which he baked in a crusty bread bowl. It would not be a Super Bowl party without me trying to make a funky cheesecake and this year’s entry was a Maple Sugar Cheesecake. It was like pancakes but not as healthy.

The food and the game both turned out better then expected and we look forward to next year when the menu will include items from the host city, Tampa, and whatever teams are lucky enough to play in Super Bowl XLIII.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Quote of the Week

Ohio claims they are due a president as they haven't had one since Taft. Look at the United States, they have not had one since Lincoln.
- Will Rogers

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I came, I saw, I caucused

Usually by Super Tuesday the presidential candidates for each party are all but finalized and only the most committed supporters show up to cast their pre-election vote. The opportunity to participate and make a difference in this year’s race is not only rare but exciting. With such an important task in my little hands I made sure to spend time studying up on the candidates to ensure I made the most informed decision possible. Picking a candidate who could possibly lead our great nation one day is a serious matter and I was so disappointed to discover the caucus to be anything but. There is really only way to fully describe the caucus experience; what a cluster$u@&.

It was estimated that today’s elections would have unprecedented turnout and those predictions were correct. While it is good to see so many people participate in the political process there is one very unfortunate side effect of this enthusiasm; traffic. Unlike a primary where polls are open much of the day, the caucus takes place during a very small window of time and everyone interested in participating at our election site waited in traffic as far as the eyes could see for the opportunity to cast their ballot at Hopkins Junior High School. Finally my habit of arriving early paid off and we were actually able to get into the parking lot and find a spot. Anyone arriving closer to the official 7:00 pm start was forced to park in various streets and tow zones within walking distance of Hopkins High.

The only thing crazier then the parking lot was the school itself; the lobby filled to capacity with confused citizens, many with their small children in tow, deciphering from a poorly drawn map which room to report to based upon home address. It was difficult to determine where to go and we actually went to the wrong classroom before realizing our district was in the cafetorium (definition: cafeteria with a stage). After waiting in a fairly long line we were asked to sign our name and address on a register and take our place at a corner table of the cafetorium that represented our district. We could not figure out if it was standard operating procedure or the sheer chaos that kept the polling judge from checking our ids or at the very least our names against the list of registered voters. I strongly considered signing the register as Mickey Mouse of 123 Main Street and honestly no one would have ever noticed.

To prepare for the Minnesota Caucus we actually watched a video produced by the Al Franken for Senate group which explained the caucus process so we would not appear like amateurs. We sat down and after getting a piece of yellow scrap paper we wrote our choice for the democrats ticket from a list of names on a white board written in poor penmanship with a dry erase marker. Bill Richardson, no longer officially in the race, was represented on the white board. It was tempting to cast a ballot for him but in the end I could not justify throwing my vote away in such a close race. There was no grouping, subgrouping, walking, polling or speeches which are apparently just used for house and senate caucuses; just small sheets of scrap paper collected by volunteers and put into a popcorn tub from the local movie theatre. Potentially the most important vote many have ever cast and it might be illegibly smudged butter grease. Grammar school elections for hall monitor have more oversight then this did. Disgusted by the crowds, chaos, idiocy and illegitimacy of the process we left the party representatives and grass roots supporters awaiting the “real” caucus experience in the Senate race.

After leaving the school grounds we wondered if the Republican caucus was more organized, civilized and serious. We debated on driving to the Republican caucus site to check it out and maybe even cast another vote; they honestly would never know that we had already voted in on the Democratic ballot. Fighting our way out of the parking lot and down streets filled to capacity with illegally parked cars and miles of people still trying to vote we headed home. It was all too possible in our Republican heavy city that traffic would be ten times worse at Wayzata High School and neither one of us wanted to be charged with voting fraud in the off chance that anyone would check.

Maybe the caucus system works in smaller states or in less contentious elections not experiencing record turnout, but I was not a big fan of the concept of the caucus before today and I am even less in support of this method of choosing a candidate. There are so many things working against people participating in a caucus. There are no absentee ballots so people working the night shift, stuck at the office, out of town, busy with family or trapped in hours of traffic attempting to get to their polling place between 6:30 and 8:00 are out of luck. I do not know what the official process of changing a state from caucus to primary is but after tonight’s debacle it is time to consider a change.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Patriots Arrested by Karma Police

In any sport there are unwritten rules of etiquette for players, coaches and fans. Sports are introduced to us at a young age to teach the concepts of fair play, sportsmanship and personal character. Each player, coach and official who engages in activities that violate the ethical and moral standards of the game hurt the public’s perception of professional athletics and the game itself. But in our world where increasingly winning is everything there is little keeping all those involved in sports from lying and cheating their way to the top. The New England Patriots, with all the reports of foul play surrounding them, came close to giving the values of morality and sportsmanship the middle finger with the first undefeated season since 1972. But what the team, and the world of sports, forgot is what goes around comes around and it all came right back at the New England Patriots.

The Patriots suffered a monumental collapse in their historic season with a loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII; ending their quest for a perfect season and bid as the greatest team of all time. Sports fans, writers and commentators all have their own opinion on how the mighty fell, blaming everything from injuries to the officiating. There are as many reasons the Patriots lost as there were people watching the big game but all those reasons align to one major theme; the Karma Police finally caught up with New England.

Don't embarrass your opponent: Running up the score, making insane play calls just to show off and over-celebrating a touchdown when the score is already 52-0 is unnecessary and classless. Tom Brady, Randy Moss and the rest of the team have forgotten how to be good winners; they all need little rubber bracelets with WWLD, What Would Lombardi Do, as a reminder to take success graciously.
Remove starters in the fourth quarter when you have a commanding lead: It is not only good to remove your starters to keep them healthy and to give your second line some much needed playing time, it also allows the opposing team to survive a difficult game with their pride intact. The Patriots were penny wise and pound foolish with their starters; they broke records but with some rest they might have more hardware on their fingers.
Never call for an onside kick with a big lead: I cannot find an example of the Patriots engaging in this heinous play call, but honestly wouldn’t put it past them.
Punt: Going for it on fourth and 2 with a 38 point lead does nothing but rub salt in the wounds of players and fans alike and is unnecessarily greedy.
Always take a knee at the end of a game that is already decided: Even if you have a team that is on the verge of breaking scoring records and has the ability to score a 76 yard touchdown in the final seconds of the game it is a mark of class and maturity to take the knee if you are already pummeling your opponents.
Never steal another team's signs or plays: There are many accusations against the Patriots for taping their opponents practices and play calls. The Patriots were fined (albeit barely) for this cheating behavior and many in the league brushed off the practice as something all teams engage in and the real crime was getting caught. As our mother’s used to say if all your friends jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge would you do it too? Just because “everyone does it” doesn’t make it right. To further insult fans the NFL commissioner had all evidence destroyed.
Deliver a firm and sincere handshake: Anyone who has participated in team sports knows the end of every game requires a receiving line where opposing teams congratulate each other for a “good game.” Sometimes this practice is hard but it is always done. One major complaint about the Patriots and their head coach is how they come off as pompous and arrogant during and after the game and are poor winners. After the Super Bowl Bill Belichick showed that he is a poor loser as well, walking off the field prior to the game actually ending, the most classless thing a team or coach can do at the end of the biggest game in sports.
Always remember your humble beginnings: It is amazing how quickly history is forgotten, and how often it repeats itself. It was only six years ago that the Patriots shocked the world of sports by beating the St. Louis Rams in a huge Super Bowl upset. No one gave the Patriots and their young starting quarterback Tom Brady a chance. Sound familiar?
Dress to Impress: The Karma Police are often assisted by another member of the force; The Fashion Police. If the old saying “clothes make the man” has any validity then Bill Belichick is a bum. Even with the NFL rules dictating that all attire must be from Reebok there has to be options dressier then the baggy, sleeveless sweatshirt Belichick wears week after badly dressed week. An NFL head coach is a highly paid professional and their clothes should reflect this high ranking status. Imagine if your head bosses dressed more casually then the rest of their staff. Good clothes command greater respect and managers should always dress better then their employees and the red dress hoodie he donned in the Super Bowl does not count as dressing up.

The Patriots learned how cruel the Karma Police can be in their loss to Giant underdogs. Their “perfect” season will now be remembered for the single loss that happened in the biggest game of the year, and it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving team.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Primary School

Presidential primary season is in full swing and with Super Tuesday around the corner it is time to make a very tough decision; which party’s caucus should I vote in. Rules for primary/caucus participation vary state by state. In my former home state of New York it is required to declare your party affiliation when registering to vote and voters can only participate in that party’s primary election. Until moving to Minnesota, which allows voters to choose a caucus of their liking, I was unable to cast a primary vote. Although being a declared independent in New York restricted my ability to vote prior to November elections I could not in good conscious have my name officially tied to any given political party. Now that I can vote in a primary without carrying around a card emblazoned with a donkey or elephant it is time for a tough decision; what party’s caucus is worth participating in?

Why I am not a Republican:
A typical trademark of the Republican Party is their belief in small government, but the past few decades have seen the GOP wavering from this stance. The influence of religious organizations on the Republican Party has increased their involvement in a wide variety of “social issues” that they would once have chalked up matters outside the realm of government intervention or in the jurisdiction of state rights. The military budget demonstrates just how the party is no longer that of a small, mean and lean spending machine. While I do see healthy businesses as being key in providing jobs and stimulating economic growth, the Republican Party has truly forgotten about the people who work for those big companies, further driving an unhealthy and unbalanced culture where people are expected to make their employers richer while reaping very little of the financial rewards themselves. The Republican’s positions on (or against) the rights of people other then rich, white men are my reason not to vote the party line. The faces of the candidates themselves say it all; I am too female to be a Republican.

Why I am not a Democrat?
As someone working hard to make my own dime the economic policies favored by the Democrats sound socialistic. The little time I did spend on the inside working for the US government formed my opinion that the best government is a small government. Anyone who thinks that large scale programs like healthcare and retirement are best run by the government has never had the pleasure of working inside of it; bureaucratic red tape, decisions at the speed of molasses, lack of understanding on how anything outside Washington actually operates. My somewhat negative view of humanity drives my opposition to most democratic programs designed to help people in “need.” It is not my responsibility to take care of the “needs” of people who have the physical ability to work and do not, who choose to use their money on non-essential purchases when they live in subsidized housing, who drop out of school, who choose to use drugs, who believe they are somehow entitled to have the government pay for their existence because they blessed us with 9 children from 8 different fathers; if you can’t feed them, don’t breed them. As a New Yorker who saw her city attacked and her wedding almost ruined by 19 Muslim men commandeering airplanes I cannot help but support some levels of racial profiling and US Immigration control. I drive a SUV, clawed my way through college without help from Uncle Sam, work for a Fortune 50 healthcare company, and think I can take much better care of myself then any government babysitter; I am too successful to be a Democrat.

A few days before I can cast my first vote in the 2008 Presidential Elections I must decide if there is any party or candidate I can get behind since none of them have a platform worth supporting. The departure of both Rudolph Giuliani of the Republican Party and Bill Richardson of the Democratic Party from the Presidential Race was sad and unfortunate. Both these candidates had an understanding on the role of government; protecting citizens, stimulating the economy, promoting equality through opportunities and empowerment and not handouts and programs, restoring our diplomatic position abroad, focusing our military on important matters. The rest of the candidates are in the race for less then noble reasons and more equipped to run a campaign then a country, but that’s a topic for another day. The choice of candidates left in this year’s elections are just as bad as the teams in the Super Bowl; with no one to root for it is hard to get into the game.