Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Powerball Fun

Did your office form a pool for the Powerball drawing? We did at the store. I don't know if we have ever done anything like this before but on Monday one of the ladies started the pool and we all joined in. $5 was the buy in and by the time she left this afternoon to buy the tickets, almost everyone had joined in the fun. She ended up buying 73 tickets.

Of course the real fun in something like this is the anticipation. For two days there was talk and dreaming of what we would do if we won. Of course it would have been a tragedy for the store because we would all be in on it. Who would stick around? That was the fun dream. The question was, would you come to work the next day? Most actually said yes, though they didn't know how long they would stay. Others said they would come in to say good-bye. What would you buy? New cars and a new boat were the hottest items.

Well, now the numbers have been drawn and the dreaming has ended. Out of 73 tickets, not a one had the powerball right. None of them even won $4 by picking three numbers. Only a few even had two numbers right. Of course that is how these things go - but that is the fun. No one really thought we would win anything. It was just a bit of excitement and cheap diversion from the wintry cold.

Winter has arrived in Iowa and we are headed now to Christmas. May the spirit of the holiday season bring you. . .


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

I cast my vote

I have done my civic duty and I have voted.

It is very easy here in Cedar Rapids, IA. In fact for me it was very easy because the voting place is just a short walk through the little neighborhood park to the church next door.

This was a different experience from 2 years ago in West Des Moines. There I had to show a valid ID before I could vote. I don't think that is in fact legal or at least conventional procedure but that is what they were doing.

Today I just walked in and got in line for the S thru Z names. I signed in, verbally gave my name and address and the response was "Your good to go." No request for an ID, no hassles at all. I signed the eligible voter list and was given a ballot. There was a table set up with little shields to provide a modicum of privacy. Then when I was done I put the ballot into the automatic scanner/reader and I was done. The whole thing took maybe ten minutes.

I guess I'm ambivalent about the ID issue. I can see the need if there is evidence or even a legitimate suspicion of voter fraud but that just isn't the case, at least not here in Iowa. Oh yea, I've heard the old saw about Chicago politics - "Vote early and vote often" but there just isn't any reason to believe that is an issue here. Counter that with the very real history of poll taxes and other forms of voter suppression from past history and I'm inclined to opt for ease of voting. Especially in areas where less than 50% of the people even bother to vote.

One thing I am not ambivalent about is getting this over with. Here in Iowa we have been subjected with over a year of political ads. We are a swing state so for the past months we have been bombarded with political attack ads. One report tallied over 1600 TV ads each day. It has gotten to the point that any TV that I watch is streamed off Netflix. I sincerely hope that the issues are decided today and we can move on with our lives in peace, at least for a couple of years.

But for now, I will leave the TV off and pray for