mrs-tennessee_sm.jpgAround our house in those days, if you didn’t clean up your room you went to bed without dessert.  Not just a mess in your own room, either.   If you left a mess anywhere and refused to be responsible for it—reasons ranging from recalcitrance to outright sloth—no matter!  There was NO EXCUSE FOR IT!

In the great Southeast, no meal was complete without something sweet to round it out.   While you might be able to stand fast, stay whatever course had to be stayed concerning your Mess and its necessity, it was you, the Messer, who teetered bedward in sugar shock, the withdrawal kind, not the law upholders of the land.

It was l960, when our mother’s chums entered her in the Mrs. Nashville contest as a practical joke.  Not because she wasn’t up to muster in all things home ec, it just wasn’t something anyone from our side of town had ever “done.”  Nonetheless, she jumped through the field trials and sashayed home with the banner.  Mrs. Nashville.  Nice picture in the paper, everybody got a big kick out of it.

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It was a giddy five days, wasn't it? I remember it well. There were blogs, and jokes on the Internet, and bets were made about how long it would last, how soon there would be a resignation. I made one of those bets myself. I said, within the month. Gone within the month. But five days passed and the vice-president was still there.

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palin-mccain.jpgJohn McCain’s selection of Alaska’s Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate puts a target on Hillary Clinton’s back.  Shrewdly tactical, the choice of a woman as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate turns the spotlight back on Hillary but not the way she wanted.  In virtually every area of public policy the two women are diametrically opposed.  

She doesn’t support a woman’s right to choose.  Roe v. Wade would no longer be the law of the land if she and John McCain are able to put new Supreme Court Justices on the bench.  When she was a mayor she tried to ban books from the local library.  Governor Palin wants to drill in ANWAR.  She would take the polar bear off the endangered species list.  She would make the teaching of creationism mandatory in schools.  Nobody knows what she thinks about Universal Health Care, but we’ve heard what John McCain thinks and we can safely assume Sarah Palin will be in lock step with his positions.  

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cerealcity.jpg On a sweltering Sunday evening, hope came to a baseball field in Battle Creek, Michigan. Once a prosperous “Cereal City,” home to both Post and Kellogg, Battle Creek has fallen upon hard times. The city has become one of Michigan’s post-industrial ghost towns due to the gradual shuttering of the cereal production plants since the 1970s.

Racial tensions have risen as demographics have changed, and the crime rate is disproportionately high. On the bright side, depending on one’s personal tastes, Battle Creek is a boom-town for the manufacture of crack cocaine. As I drove into town, my young traveling companion joked that there was now “crackle, but no snap or pop.”

Last Sunday night, though, Battle Creek’s C.O. Brown Stadium held at least 16,000 people willing to stand in the sun for hours to see Barack Obama and Joe Biden as they made the third stop on their post-Convention tour.

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From the Los Angeles Times 

cookbooks.jpg "Not only do I eat, I also am a Democrat," wrote Frank Sinatra in an intro to 1960's "Many Happy Returns: The Democrats' Cook Book, or How to Cook a G.O.P. Goose" (the sales of which helped buy TV air time for candidates). "Not only should every Democrat own a copy of this book, but he should load up all his or her friends, and even smuggle some copies into Pasadena and other points where the enemy is strong and square."

"Many Happy Returns" is one of the more entertaining of a long string of little-noticed ephemera of political campaigns -- the partisan cookbook, written by politicos and their supporters (wives, celebrities, members of the Glendale Republican Womens Study Club), pundits, humorist gourmets, or even a displaced White House chef -- and it even has a few workable recipes.

Maybe the cookbook helped secure JFK his narrow victory that year by pleasing happy squares with Jacqueline Kennedy's recipe for crisp, light waffles (the secret is the egg whites). (It certainly won't be Cindy McCain's butterscotch oatmeal cookies that catapult Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain into the Oval Office in this election. Who cares whether she stole the recipe, which appears on the Family Circle magazine website -- they look like leaden lumps.)

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