Clean freak.

A big story earlier this week was about old people lining up at our local coliseum for a one-time flu-shot clinic. The state got 190K doses, and they’re being distributed to the at-risk populations; it’s probably the same where you are. I read this story, complete with photos of these geezers creaking along on their walkers and quotes about why they need the vaccine (“my chemotherapy wipes out my immune system,” etc.). Then I turned the page and read about the AMA debate on whether to investigate the issue of drug reimportation, as more Americans wonder why we have to prop up the drug companies’ profit ambitions, and Canada gets a discount.

And then I sit back and smack both cheeks, remembering how, early in the year, I predicted health care would be the big domestic issue in the presidential election.

This is why I’m the smashing success I am — always with my finger on the pulse, you know.

(Long pause while I try to figure out why I thought that important.)

OK, let’s try again: Moving! Realtors! What’s up with that?

Maybe one more time: One of the first things we did after we listed our house was go to Sears and buy a new vacuum cleaner. The old one was only two years old, but in that time it managed to queer both of us on the so-called miracle of the bagless vacuum. Oh, sure, you get seduced at first, taking a few swipes across the wall-to-wall and then marveling at the wad of swirling dog hair in the cup: Wow! Cool! If you’ve ever used one of those pore strips, it’s like that — inspecting blackheads from the other direction.

After that, things went downhill. The HEPA filter was perpetually clogged, the cup leaked dust everywhere, it smelled awful and it was as loud as a 747 screaming in for a landing six inches above your head. If I was going to vacuum daily — and when your house is for sale, that’s what you do — I would need fresh equipment.

So we went old-school — bag — with improvements — HEPA. It’s red, a Kenmore. Today, when I came home from work, Alan was frantically pushing it around the kitchen. “Showing between 2 and 3,” he panted.

Regular readers know Alan has a knack for the domestic that is still revealing itself. Sometimes I tell him he has a recessive gay gene. Sometimes I call him the world’s hairiest metrosexual. But I retain the bafflement that dawned the week after we moved in together, when Alan transformed himself, in one week, from a man who owned a naugahyde rocker with a spring that poked you in the ass to a guy who haunted antique auctions, with an eye for mission oak.

This house-selling business has only brought out a different facet. He’s like a drill sergeant whose mission is to plump couch pillows. “Everyone take their shoes off! OUTSIDE!” he snarls at the kids when they come in. Of course, since he did most of the work in cleaning the place down to its tiniest crack, he has a lot at stake. Even the guppies got their tank and plastic plants spiffed up yesterday. Yesterday — this is the truth — I caught him watching Martha Stewart.

And what does he get for it? A couple who passes because we don’t have a bathroom on the main floor! The nerve.

I better get to the blogging before it’s too late:

Tom Friedman is so smart we should have elected him president. Or at least put him on the Iraq planning team.

From the WashPost, the downside of being a stoner legend. Three real-life inspirations for characters in “Dazed and Confused” fight back, with lawyers.

Lance has an amusing story about December’s favorite act of mischief — stealing the baby Jesus from Nativity scenes.

Thanks to all who wrote/left comments about the upcoming move. Frequently occasionally OK, sometimes asked questions:

Yep, the blog will continue. No, I don’t know exactly what I’ll do in Detroit just yet, other than continue freelancing and figure it out as I go. Someone sent me a quote from a book she recommended, “The Artist’s Way”Think of yourself as an accident victim walking away from the crash. You old life has crashed and burned; your new life isn’t apparent yet. You may feel yourself to be temporarily without a vehicle. Just keep walking.

I plan to keep walking.

Posted at 9:04 pm in Uncategorized |

8 responses to “Clean freak.”

  1. brian stouder said on December 9, 2004 at 9:40 pm

    The moving news just sounds – right. Especially the part about how you get a professional clean slate (so to speak) and get to market your talents in such a big metro area, and where circumstances are such that you get to be selective.

    Regarding the healthcare issue – I think the point is that W was certainly beatable, and Kerry should have been able to do it.

    Personally, I admire Kerry very much, and I was inclined to give him a close look – to the extent of sending him money back in the primaries when Howard the Duck Dean looked like he might win the nomination.

    Leaving particular arguments aside – have you ever watched the Kennedy-Nixon debates? I remember being struck by how simplistic they sounded – arguing about Kimoy and Matsu (for example). Only much later did the wisdom of that campaigning style (stick figure simplicity) impress itself upon me.

    Kerry could have (and possibly should have)defeated W, if he would have selected one or two over-arching (and simple) themes THAT DIFFERED from W, and then stuck with them to the end.

    Tonight Senator Edwards and his wife Elizabeth were on Larry King, and she flatly stated that the campaign was more important than her breast cancer….and her husband sat there with his telegenic smile and DIDN’T DISAGREE!!

    Now – forget about all the elegant arguments about how the campaign really WAS so damned important…Pammy and I immediately looked at one another in disbelief that Edwards didn’t immediately disagree with his wife’s noble selflessness (which, btw, I think was sincere)….

    When Hillary is campaigning for the D nomination in Iowa and New Hampshire in afew years, and healthcare is again the big issue – I bet she runs that video tape.

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  2. ashley said on December 10, 2004 at 1:16 am

    Edwards was a total waste of a Veep candidate. If the guy can’t even deliver his own state (which would have been one short to deliver the election, but still…).

    My prediction was that Bob Graham would become the VEEP candidate the second he dropped out of the election, because he could probably deliver Florida, and thus, the election.

    How do people like McAuliffe and Kerry’s strategist keep getting jobs? Brian’s right: make it look simple. Things like “It’s the economy, stupid” get the point across.

    Nuance don’t win elections.

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  3. Dave Reilly said on December 10, 2004 at 9:34 am


    VP candidates aren’t there to deliver their states. There there to counteract or moderate something in the candidate. Bush didn’t need Cheney to help him win Wyoming. That’s what made Lieberman such a bad choice for Gore. He only emphasized what a lot of people already hated about Gore, the sanctimony, the smugness, the Northeastern elitism. Gore never understood that he was never seen as a real Southerner. Graham would have been the perfect choice back then. But he’s grown old in the last 4 years and sicker and he would have made a poor campaigner.

    Edwards’ weakness was really the Kerry campaign’s weakness—they didn’t run a national campaign. Edwards was used to drum up votes in swing states when he’d have been most useful helping to raise Kerry’s totals across the board. He probably could have helped in New Mexico and Nevada and Colorado too. Ohio wasn’t necessary and neither was Florida.

    I happen to think Evan Bayh would have been the better choice for Kerry, especially since the campaign was going to focus so much on the midwest. Kerry still would have lost Indiana, but Bayh would have helped him in Ohio and Michigan and freed him up to spend more time elsewhere.

    The important thing to remember when trying to analyze what Kerry did wrong is that even if Kerry had won Ohio he’d have lost the popular vote by three million votes!

    Kerry could not have governed under those circumstances. He needed to win the popular vote and have the Democrats take back at least one house in Congress. He needed to run a national campaign to do that. Kerry’s focusing so much on the midwest allowed a lot of Democratic Congressional candidates who could have benefited from his coattails to go down. There was an open seat here in New York we might have picked up, but neither Kerry nor Edwards ever came to the state after they stopped in for a bite at the Wendy’s near here. Edwards’s appeal was strongest with the kinds of voters in that district.

    A healthy Graham might have helped Kerry take Florida, but he’d still have been as useless as Edwards in the kind of narrow campaign Kerry decided to run.

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  4. Karl Rove said on December 10, 2004 at 9:36 am


    [dry-washing hands in malicious gleefulness]

    Danny mentioned that you two were doing some political introspection. I just thought I would drop by the blog and see what the popular thinking is.


    Evil Genius

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  5. Lance Mannion said on December 10, 2004 at 9:44 am


    Does Alan mind your outing him as closeted metrosexual?

    Actually, I take issue with the idea that his knowing the aesthetic value of mission oak means that he has a recessive gay gene.

    Being able to put together a room used to be an important talent for all manly men. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington understood color and form and took the lead in the interior design of their homes. They could also sing, dance, and draw. They could also hunt, fish, shoot, and fence. They were also both babe magnets.

    It’s only been in 20th century America that the definition of manliness has been a slob who can’t be bothered to match his own socks let alone choose a wallpaper pattern.

    Anyway, Martha Stewart is very manly.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a cake in the oven.

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  6. first-time caller said on December 10, 2004 at 10:54 am

    There, there, Dave. Go back and read your first line. Couldn’t resist pointing it out, since as I get older all those “cinnamons” keep biting me in the arse, too.

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  7. Michael G said on December 10, 2004 at 11:25 am

    It’s refreshing to see people discussing what the Dems did wrong rather than blaming everything on outside factors. The fact is that W was eminently beatable, the Ds ran a stiff for a candidate and ran a miserable campaign to boot. The time to start running for ’08 is now. Today. Members in the House and in the Senate need to keep up a steady drumbeat of criticism of the Administration and its policies. Just look at how the Rs kept beating on Clinton day after day. It ain’t difficult once you get past your victim mode and get into life as it is in the real world. The Democrats also need to stand for something rather than just playing at being Republicans Lite. Then the Ds need to decide on a candidate in advance instead of running each other into the ground during the primaries. Pay me my consultant fee and I’ll reveal the rest.

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  8. Mary said on December 10, 2004 at 6:17 pm

    Is it just me, or is anyone else a little creeped out by John Edwards? I voted for him, but there is something about him, other than reminding me of my ex, that just doesn’t slot in properly.

    Reminding me of my ex would be enough to creep me out, by the way, but I don’t think that’s all it is.


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